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Workplace injuries are commonplace in the UK. While we often have training, risk assessments and dedicated staff in place to reduce the number of incidents, they do still happen.

The HSE reported 147 workers were killed at work in 2018/19 and 581,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey in 2018/19. It is estimated that 4.7 million days are lost due to non-fatal workplace injuries.

All employers are under a duty to keep their workers safe from harm but many don’t take this duty seriously enough. This results in many accidents every year, some as minor as a bumped elbow and others much more serious, even fatal.

Being a serious injury specialist, Aston Knight Solicitors deal with these kinds of injury cases on a daily basis. What however, are the most common accidents found within the workplace? We’ve put together the top 5 most common injury at work cases to help you stay alert and avoid serious injury while at work cases.

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1. Slips, Trips or Falls on same level

Slips, Trips and falls are by far the most common cause of serious injury to UK workers.  In 2018/19 Slip, Trips and Falls accounted for almost one third of all employer reported non-fatal injuries to employees according to the Labour Force Survey 2018/19.

This type of injury can seriously damage somebody; from slipping on a wet floor and fracturing bones, to tripping over poorly placed objects, causing a fall and potentially risking severe damage to not only bones but the brain if the fall is particularly bad.

Negligence is quite often the reason for these accidents, with incorrect equipment, unsafe environments and poor direction being the main causes.

2. Handling, lifting or carrying

Handling, lifting or carrying accidents accounted for 20% of all employer reported non-fatal injuries to employees in the UK in 2018/19, according to the Labour Force Survey 2018/19.

Handling injuries can be incredibly detrimental to the long term health of an employee, even risking their future. The most common injury caused by handling is strain and damage to the back, spine and neck. Spinal injuries can result in permanent trouble with movement, requiring lengthy spells of physiotherapy and possibly forcing early retirement if the person affected cannot perform manual tasks following injury.

Common causes of spinal injuries due to handling are overburdening of a staff member by asking to move something around their workplace and not providing proper training on how to lift and carry. Heavier loads usually require apparatus or machines to move. Proper equipment/machinery should always be provided to avoid injury.

3. Being struck by or caught in moving machinery

Being injured by a moving object (e.g. being struck by a falling object or a cut from a hand knife) accounts for over 10% of major injuries reported to HSE. This is the third largest category of reported injuries after manual handling and slips.

Examples of how an injury may occur, include:

  • A moving object striking a worker
  • A worker striking against an object or equipment, including bumping into, stepping on, kicking, or being pushed or thrown onto an object
  • A part of a worker’s body being squeezed, pinched, compressed or crushed in equipment, between shifting objects, between stationary objects, or in a wire or rope
  • A worker being struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material
  • A worker being injured as a result of friction or pressure between the person and the source of injury
  • A worker being injured from vibration

Employers have a duty to keep their employees safe and must carry out a risk assessment. Work area risk assessments should include looking at this particular risk, especially as ‘struck by’ injuries are common and are likely to occur almost anywhere.

4. Acts of Violence

HSE reports there were 739,000 incidents of violence at work, comprising of 356,000 assaults and 383,000 threats, in 2018/19. Acts of violence account for 8% of all workplace injuries.

The types of injuries resulting from assaults can be very serious. However, the most common injury resulting from acts of violence in the workplace is minor bruising or black eye, which accounts for 80% of all acts of violence injuries in the workplace.

Health and social care specialists and health professionals had higher than average risk of violence than any other professions. These professions have consistently had higher than average risk rates over the last number of years.

5. Falls from a height

Falls from a height account for 8% of all non-fatal workplace injuries. Unfortunately, falls from height remains the biggest cause of workplace fatalities in Great Britain.

As an employer or organiser of an event you should make sure that:

  • no work is done at height if it is safe and reasonably practicable to do it on the ground
  • work is properly planned, appropriately supervised, and carried out in as safe a way as is reasonably practicable
  • work at height takes account of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety
  • those working at height are competent
  • the risks from work at height are assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used
  • equipment for work at height is properly inspected and maintained
  • the risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled
  • there is a plan for emergencies and rescue

The rate of non-fatal injury to employees reported by employers shows a downward trend and interestingly the UK consistently has one of the lowest standardised rates of fatal injury across the EU with France being the highest. Let’s hope this downward trend continues.

If, however, you have had the misfortune of being involved in an accident at work, whether it be a slip on a wet floor, a fall from height or a lack of training, you may have sustained injuries as a result.  In some circumstances you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. If you need assistance or would like to speak with one of our specialist personal injury solicitors contact us on 0161 399 1231.

Emma Pearce, Solicitor


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