It’s easy to think of accidents at work just happening in factories or other industrial settings. Perhaps this is because health and safety concerns weren’t always what they should have been concerning ‘heavy industry’ in previous years.
For instance, new cases of asbestos disease claims are started every day due to asbestos exposure from many years ago when employers so blatantly disregarded the safety of those working with asbestos. Thankfully, huge improvements have been made over the past 30 or more years.
However, accidents still happen in almost any workplace setting. Therefore, any list of types of workplace accidents is never going to be complete. Here are some of the more common types of accident at work claims:
- Building/construction site accident claims
- Factory accident claims
- Forklift Truck accident claims
- Office accident claims
- Warehouse accident claims
- Farming accident claims
- Defective work equipment claims
- Work accident at sea claims
- Oil rig accident claims
- Electric shock and electrocution claims
- Chemical accident claims
- Scaffolding accident claims
- Transport accident claims
- Machinery injury compensation
There are many ways that accidents happen in the workplace. Some types of accident cross over into several different workplace sectors, such as:
a) Slip, trip and fall accidents
These are the most common type of workplace accidents. These involve slipping on wet floors, tripping over cables left strewn across the floor, falling over on uneven floors, etc.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, which publishes annual reports on accidents at work in the previous year, slips, trip and fall accidents account for almost a third of all non-fatal workplace accidents.
Slips, trips and falls can happen in any sector of industry or profession.
b) Manual Handling
Manual handling injury claims are another common type of accident at work claim. At Mooneerams solicitors, we get asked to pursue accidents of this type on behalf of claimants who have suffered back injuries and muscle sprain injuries due to pushing, lifting or pulling heavy items.
A lack of adequate employee training can be a significant factor in manual handling accidents.
If workers get asked to lift items of weight that are too heavy for them to manage, they can suffer back injuries. Manual handling accidents frequently occur amongst hospital staff when they get asked to lift patients into and out of beds.
Any job that requires an employee to push, pull or lift heavy weights can be the cause of manual handling accidents.
c) Hit by moving object
In large workplaces such as factories and warehouses, it is not uncommon for work-related vehicles, such as forklift trucks, to drive around the aisles and walkways. A worker getting hit by one of these moving objects is a genuine possibility if all necessary precautions are not in place.
The HSE accident statistics report for the year 2019/2020 reveals that 11% of all employer reported accidents at work, which resulted in a non-fatal injury, were of the ‘struck by a moving object’ type. Being struck by a moving vehicle caused a fifth of all fatal accidents during the same period.
d) Hit by a falling object
Falling object accidents can happen in a variety of circumstances.
- Heavy box files falling from shelves in an office onto an unsuspecting worker could cause a nasty head, neck or shoulder injury.
- Brick or masonry falling from scaffolding is almost certainly going to cause severe injury or death if it were to land on someone on the ground below.
- Many of the falling objects from height accidents that occur are on constructions sites, e.g., tools, hard hats, walkie talkie radios, pieces of building masonry
- Warehouses are another workplace where the potential of severe injuries from falling boxes of stock of badly stacked racking is high.
e) Repetitive strain injuries
Repetitive strain injuries occur due to the repeated overuse of a particular area of the body. Common causes of RSI are:
- Badly designed work chairs
- A workstation that is not set up correctly for the person using it
- Any job which involves repetitive movements
Symptoms of RSI include:
- Aching or burning muscles, tendon and joint pain
- Throbbing sensation of the affected part of the body
- Tingling and numbness
- A weakness of hands or arms
f) Falls from height
Any fall from height at work is a serious matter.
For example, falls from height in the food and drinks industry alone were the third highest cause of fatal accidents in 2019/2020. They also resulted in 80 significant injuries to other employees in that industry. They led to 230 employees, each taking over three-days of absence from work due to injuries sustained at work. That is just in one sector alone.
Examples of falls from height are those from:
- Warehouse racking units
- Raised platforms
- Motor vehicles
g) Assaulted at work
Assaults by members of the public on workers who are simply doing their jobs have now become a sad fact of life. Nearly 2000 people got prosecuted for assaults on emergency workers during the first six months of the COVID-19 lockdown of March 2020.
It isn’t just emergency workers assaulted at work – it can be a work colleague assaulting a fellow work colleague; it can be a resident of a care home who attacks their carer or a pupil at school who attacks their teacher.
Together with considering a criminal injuries claim, there is the possibility of making an accident at work claim against your employer for an assault at work.
An assault at work claim would carry reasonable prospects of success if there were a failing on the part of your employer that puts him in breach of his duty of care to you. The possibility of assaults at work has become more predictable in several occupations, as we have referred to above.
To make a successful accident at work claim due to being assaulted at work is a need to demonstrate that your employer ought to have known that an assault at work was predictable. Perhaps there have been similar attacks at your workplace on people doing the same type of job as you.
If so, has your employer heeded the lessons of previous attacks by providing extra training, additional security or increased staffing levels to mitigate against the possibility of further attacks? If the employer has done nothing different to protect staff from being assaulted at work, they would have reasonable prospects of succeeding in an assault at work claim.