Over a million UK employees suffered injury or illness at work between 2020 and 2021, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive has revealed.
It was found that 822,000 experienced work-related stress, 470,000 suffered a musculoskeletal disorder, and 93,000 contracted covid at work.
With these injuries and illnesses impacting employees’ wellbeing, and costing the UK more than £16 billion a year, it is vital that employers do all they can to ensure their health and safety measures are up to scratch.
Stress and anxiety
According to the research, the effects of the pandemic have intensified work-related stress and anxiety, which is not unexpected.
However, other concerns have surfaced as a result, such as lack of employee support, reduced workload management, violence, bullying and structural shifts – all of which have a poor effect on workers’ mental health.
Musculoskeletal disorders are one of the most common workplace injuries, increasing over time and impacting muscles, joints, and tendons all over the body.
Manual handling, uncomfortable or arduous positions, typing or repetitive movement are the most common causes for this.
Therefore, it is typically those in skilled trade professions, such as construction and health and social work, who obtain these sorts of injuries.
How can employers tackle this?
Employers have a legal duty of care when ensuring their workplace is as safe as possible, abiding by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The act sets out rules and regulations to avoid injuries in every workplace.
According to this, all businesses must:
- Maintain updated health and safety files
- Conduct risk assessments in all working areas
- Provide employees with training and safety equipment.
Additionally, employers can manage and avoid risks at work by:
- Guaranteeing buildings are in good repair and maintaining any equipment
- Providing enough space for safe movement, ensuring corridors and stairs are free of obstructions
- Keeping stairs, corridors, and outside areas well-lit
- Ensuring non-slippery, level, even floors and surfaces without holes or broken boards
- Adding handrails to necessary stairs and ramps
- Keeping temperatures at a reasonable level
- Ensuring adequate ventilation with fresh, clean air coming from outside or a ventilation system.
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