Workplace injuries are an unfortunate commonality, borne out by the sheer volume of risks to which workers are exposed each and every day. The world of work is a broad one, and so too are the types of injuries that workers endure wide-ranging. With the news that government health and safety services are increasingly ignoring workplace injuries due to resource strain, it is more important than ever for the worker to understand their environment.
It is all too common for the average worker to imagine the workplace injury as a major event, such as a significant fall from height or the breaking of a bone from a falling object. But any and every injury in the workplace contributes to workplace injury statistics, and no worker is safe from the prospect of injury at work. Even sedentary and at-home office workers run the risk of injury in the form of musculoskeletal disorders and posture problems.
The Most Common Causes of Workplace Injury
According to data gathered by the Health and Safety Executive, the single most common cause of workplace injury in the UK comes in the form of a slip, trip or fall. Same-level slips, trips and falls (that is, falls that occur on level ground and do not incorporate a fall from height) account for 30% of all non-fatal injuries reported under RIDDOR. The next-most common are injuries associated with handling, lifting or carrying – such as back injuries or pulled muscles. The third-most common is being struck by a moving object, such as a piece of machinery or a forklift.
These common workplace injuries are, often, not the fault of the injured party. Where spilled or standing liquids present an invisible hazard for the unassuming worker, there could be grounds for a civil claim against the offending business for compensation.
Which Sectors Pose the Most Risk?
While the above statistics are illuminating as to the relative dangers posed by work environments, they do not take into account a vital part of the equation: industry. Industries naturally differ in levels of risk, and the incidence of above injuries can often be skewed by rates of injury per industry.
For example, while administrative and office workers make up a large majority of the UK’s working population, being struck by a moving object remains a high fixture on the list. This is due to the frequency with which workers in agriculture and construction encounter such industries. Indeed, agriculture is the single most injurious industry in the UK, seeing twice as many injuries reported via the Labour Force Survey than the second-most injurious industry, construction. Construction, though, unfortunately sees the most fatalities recorded annually.
While office jobs and other administrative roles are relatively low-risk in terms of serious injury, there remains significant risk for all workers. This is why workplaces have such robust health and safety policies in place, to ensure you are protected.