Health & Safety Statistics – How they impact on business?
Health & safety statistics are just boring…aren’t they?
Well that depends on what you see in health & safety statistics. They’re just silly percentages that mean nothing to most people! They don’t represent my workplace at all and I never take any notice of them.
So when the HSE publish the annual reported accident figures, you don’t see any benefit? Not really, they are just from the construction industry or chemical industry or another high risk business aren’t they? Well that is a short-sighted view. The health & safety statistics are compiled from all reportable accidents through the RIDDOR regulation of incidents. This covers all industries and the statistics show us some interesting trends in ALL UK workplaces.
Musculoskeletal problems – 54%
Stress/anxiety/depression – 30%
Slips, trips, falls, handling and lifting – 28%
Struck by an object – 11%
Falls from height – 10%
They show all employers the areas of significant risks in their workplaces. These are the areas that should be targeted first when completing risk assessments.
So let’s look at manual handling.
Manual handling can account for the highest percentage of reasons for people being off work. Everyone has a different lifting capability and therefore we SHOULD carry out individual risk assessments. Consider the task, individual capability, the load and the work environment to complete the assessment.
Stress accounts for nearly a third of reportable incidents, so an assessment of risk should consider the following;
Demands – workload, environment and the time to complete
Control – how much control does the worker have over their task
Support – from managers and colleagues
Relationships – how quickly can we resolve conflict and unacceptable behaviour
Role – the individual understanding their part within the business
Change – how is it managed by managers and how it could affect individuals.
What if I think our accidents are different to these statistics?
Your own accident statistics can be categorised and ordered into trends. These will give you a more informed direction on how to manage the workplace and to concentrate on YOUR areas of most concern. You may be in a business where lifting and carrying is not prominent; therefore your statistics on musculoskeletal problems will have a lower percentage and therefore you don’t need to think too deeply about controlling these areas.
You may work with chemicals which may increase the incidents around slipping or skin irritations from contact with the substance.
The health & safety statistics from the HSE give us a benchmark to start from. However, once we start scrutinising our own accident information it will allow us to decide on the control measures for our specific needs.
So how do we start?
Once you have put your historical data together, look for trends in your statistics indicating the types of accidents your employees have. Review your risk assessments to see if you can improve your controls to prevent those types of accidents.
We only ever seem to get small cuts on fingers, surely they aren’t that significant are they?
That depends how many you are getting. Is protective equipment provided? If so, is it suitable? Do staff wear them? Do staff think they are comfortable or are they restrictive?
A cut finger can still get infected, which is not only painful, but can restrict an employee from working effectively and therefore efficiently. Improving the safety of their work will be appreciated and more productive.
Surely then I just get a pair of gloves? Only if they are suitable for the task, no point in getting thick gauntlets that restrict intricate work or thin nitrile gloves that will disintegrate when using certain chemicals. Speak with the employee and ask them what they need. Never consider COST over SAFETY!
Visit health and safety for more information and support.