Promoting workplace safety: Preventing accidents and ensuring employee wellbeing

By John Kushnick

- Last updated on GMT

Safety in the food and drink factory setting needs to monitored closely. Credit: Getty / Monty Rakusen
Safety in the food and drink factory setting needs to monitored closely. Credit: Getty / Monty Rakusen

Related tags Health and safety

John Kushnick, legal operations director at National Accident Helpline, discusses how manufacturers can improve safety standards and prevent accidents in the workplace.

Unsafe working conditions can have significant consequences, including causing injuries and even fatalities.

In fact, statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that 1.8 million workers reported they were suffering from work-related ill health or injury in 2022/23. Of these, 135 workers were killed in work-related accidents, while 561,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury, and as a result, 35.2 million working days were lost.

McCain Foods was recently fined as a result of an incident that occurred in 2019​, just one example of why health and safety precautions need to be at the forefront. The incident in which a worker lost two fingers due to a lack of safety measures underscores the need for companies to implement robust safety protocols, including adequate machinery guarding, thorough risk assessments, and comprehensive employee training.

Below are some fundamental, yet easy steps that companies can take to prevent avoidable accidents and foster a culture of safety within the workplace.

Machinery guarding

One of the primary responsibilities of employers is to ensure that all machinery is properly guarded to prevent accidents. Companies must conduct regular assessments of their machinery to identify potential hazards and implement appropriate safeguards. This includes installing physical guards, safety interlocks, and emergency stop mechanisms to minimise the risk of accidents.

Conducting comprehensive risk assessments

Prioritising workplace safety involves conducting thorough risk assessments for all tasks and machinery. A comprehensive risk assessment helps identify potential hazards, evaluate the level of risk, and implement control measures to mitigate these risks. Regular reviews and updates to risk assessments are essential as processes and equipment evolve over time. A failure to conduct an adequate risk assessment can lead to employees being put in danger, highlighting the importance of risk assessments in preventing accidents.

Training and supervision

Employees should receive comprehensive health and safety training to equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their duties safely. This training should cover proper operating procedures, hazard recognition, and emergency response protocols. Effective supervision is another key component of ensuring workplace safety. Supervisors should actively monitor work processes to identify any deviations from established safety procedures and intervene promptly to address potential risks. Regular safety audits and inspections can further contribute to a safer working environment.

Seeking financial compensation for workplace accidents

In the unfortunate event that an employee experiences a workplace accident due to the negligence of the employer, the employee can seek financial compensation for the physical, mental, and financial impact they may have experienced. Employees have the right to a safe working environment, and if an accident occurs due to a breach of safety regulations, legal action may be necessary. Initiating contact with legal professionals who specialise in workplace accidents, such as the National Accident Helpline, can help individuals understand their rights and explore avenues for compensation including initiating a no-win, no-fee claim if pursued.

Our National Accident Helpline survey found that nearly half of working Brits (44%) worry they could lose their job if they make a claim against their employer. However, employees should feel assured that it’s illegal to fire employees for making a personal injury claim.

Related topics Food Safety

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