Workplace Injuries and Accidents

Every workplace is prone to different kinds of work injuries. And of course occupation plays the biggest part in the type and severity of injuries at work. This is why, in the UK, employers liability insurance is compulsory as of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) is the law requiring employers to keep records of accidents and injuries at work, including workplace accidents which cause death, serious injury (reportable injury), diagnosed cases of certain industrial diseases and “dangerous occurrences”.

According to the latest 2013-2014 (provisional) RIDDOR report provided by HSE (Health and Safety Executive), the number of reported injuries to employees in Great Britain was 77,682.

Check out our infographic for the Top 10 Causes of Accidents at Work in 2014:

Top 10 Causes Of Accidents At Work

Top 10 Causes of Accidents at Work

As you can see from the figures, the most common causes of accidents at work aren’t necessarily the more dangerous or even the least dangerous. Over half of all fatal injuries to occur to workers whilst on the job are made up of only three kinds of injury types: falls from height, contact with moving machinery, and being struck by a vehicle.

1) Slips, Trips or Falls on Same Level

  • Total: 21,585
  • Fatal: 2
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 7,742
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 13,841

Slips and trips are the most common cause of major or specified injuries to employees, responsible for 57% of all major or specified injuries. Employees who are reported to have suffered a major or specified injury due to a slip, trip or fall are more likely to be over the age of 55 and/or female.

2) Injured While Handling, Lifting or Carrying

  • Total: 18,354
  • Fatal: 0
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 1,431
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 16,923

This kind of workplace accident is the most frequent cause of over-7-day injuries, accounting for more than 9 in 10 of the over-7-day injuries total of 18,354. An estimated 909,000 work days were lost due to these types of injuries.

3) Struck by Moving, including Flying or Falling, Object

  • Total: 7,841
  • Fatal: 16
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 1,564
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 8,322

The vast majority of injuries caused by moving objects occurred in the Services industry.

4) Falls from a Height

  • Total: 5,952
  • Fatal: 13
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 1,877
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 5,951

Falls from a height account for nearly 30% of all fatal injuries to workers, with almost half of fatal falls taking place in the Construction industry.

5) Acts of Violence

  • Total: 4,936
  • Fatal: 19
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 2,895
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 3,038

56% of reported incidences of workplace violence were caused by strangers. Of the 44% of offenders that were known to the worker, the offenders were most commonly clients or members of the public known to the employee through work.

6) Contact with Moving Machinery

  • Total: 2,786
  • Fatal: 1
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 866
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 4,069

As you can imagine, over half (58%) of all major or specified injuries caused by contact with moving machinery is within the Manufacturing industry. The percentage is the same for over-7-day injuries caused by this type of accident in the Manufacturing industry.

7) Strikes Against Something Fixed or Stationary

  • Total: 2,525
  • Fatal: 13
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 784
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 1,989

This type of accident includes walking into or striking against something (e.g. stored goods, machinery, structure, etc), hitting against part of a vehicle (but only if you are travelling inside of the vehicle) and stepping on small items (e.g. nails on the ground).

8) Struck by Moving Vehicle

  • Total: 5,952
  • Fatal: 13
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 1,877
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 5,951

The majority of injuries caused by a worker getting struck by a moving vehicle occurs within the Services industry, accounting for 63% of the total injuries of this type.

9) Exposure to, or Contact with, a Harmful Substance

  • Total: 890
  • Fatal: 13
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 492
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 999

This kind of accident includes exposure or contact due to: failure, leak or burst from equipment or machines; handling, dispensing, filling or mixing; hot and cold objects or temperatures (e.g. scalds, burns, etc); infectious substances, pathogens or biological material.

10) Injured by an Animal

  • Total: 657
  • Fatal: 0
  • Major or Specified Injuries: 162
  • Over-7-Day Injuries: 728

The combined Services and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industries account for 94% of all injuries caused by an animal.

RIDDOR lists 16 different kinds of accidents that can occur at work, so to complete the list of top causes of accidents at work (continuing on from #10):

  • Trapped by something collapsing/overturning
  • Contact with electricity or electrical discharge
  • Exposure to fire
  • Exposure to an explosion
  • Drowning or asphyxiation

Where is the 16th kind of accident? “Other kind of accident” actually takes third place in the list (with 9,902 total injuries), but we removed it from our Top 10 as it isn’t a specific injury.

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