How to prevent an accident at work

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Far too many of the 500,000 work accidents in the UK every year are preventable. Work accidents can turn lives upside down, causing serious injuries, including bone fractures, head and brain injuries, nerve damage and even fatal injuries.

At Novum Law, our specialist team of personal injury solicitors have many years of experience securing compensation for people who have been injured in an accident at work that was not entirely their fault.

We understand that the consequences of an accident at work are often devastating. If you’ve been injured in the workplace, compensation can go some way towards getting you and your loved ones’ lives back to normality by covering the cost of care and lost earnings. However, most injured people just wish their accident had never happened in the first place.

Workplace risk assessments

Research has found that almost 80% of work accidents are caused by a lack of planning and failure to assess workplace risks.

The Health and Safety Executive is clear about the need to control potential dangers in the workplace by carrying out risk assessments and has provided a set of steps to take to manage risk:

  1. Identify hazards – Look at your workplace and the different roles people carry out within it. Consider how workers, site visitors and members of the public might be harmed, taking into account potential vulnerabilities and requirements faced by certain groups (e.g. young workers or disabled people). The HSE also recommends looking back at your records to see what has caused accidents or ill-health previously and speaking to workers (who are likely to be most aware of the main risks they face).
  2. Assess the risks – Think about each hazard you have identified and how likely it is to harm someone seriously. you can then decide on any further action you need to take and how urgent this is.
  3. Control the risks – Decide whether you can remove a hazard altogether. If you can’t remove the danger, find ways to manage and control it. This can include replacing machinery and materials; finding ways to reduce contact with or exposure to the risk or hazard (such as asbestos in the workplace); or something as straightforward as making sure workers have proper protective equipment.
  4. Record your findings – Businesses that employ more than 5 people must carry out full risk assessments, for which the HSE has a useful template. In the unfortunate event of a serious accident, it is important to know how and when to report an accident to the government’s RIDDOR
  5. Review the controls – The final step in the risk management process is to ensure that all controls in place to minimise hazards are up to date and keep pace with changes in the workplace, such as new staff or equipment. The HSE also suggests updating your risk assessment if staff spot any problems or if there are any near misses.

Work accident prevention

Zoe Morgan is a specialist personal injury solicitor from Novum Law’s Swindon team. She says:

“Health and safety regulations exist for a reason and should be followed. There are no excuses for endangering workers, and employers and employees alike have a part to play in ensuring their workplace is safe.

“Britain is overall a low-risk place to work, but we’ve not seen enough of a drop in the work accident statistics in recent years, indicating that there’s still some way to go before we can be confident in our ability to put an end to preventable work accidents.

“If you are seriously injured at work, we urge you to speak to a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. There is a 3-year legal time limit for making a workplace compensation claim. Don’t leave it too late to get the settlement you deserve.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a work accident that was not completely your fault, you may be able to claim compensation.

Novum Law will support you every step of the way and ensure you get justice. For a free, no obligation chat with one of our friendly, caring legal experts, call us on 0800 884 0777, email us at or fill out our online enquiry form.

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