Personal injury at work – who’s most at risk?
Every year it’s estimated that over 30 million working days are lost due to a workplace-related accident or illness. Of those, 6 million were due to accidents in the workplace and 28 million were ‘work-related’ ill health days.
Of course, different jobs present different hazards for the worker – a receptionist being at far less risk of burns than a chef. But some accidents at work resulting in personal injury can be found across any industry, whilst others are very much concentrated on certain jobs and sectors.
By far top of the personal injury league for any worker in any job is slips/trips/falls. In 2007/2008 slips, trips and falls made up nearly 4 in every 10 major workplace injuries. In the same year the most common ‘over-three-day’ injury was caused by manual handling, lifting or carrying. Sitting for long periods and handling harmful substances have also been the cause of personal injury in the workplace.
The top three causes of personal injury at work are:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Electrical incidents
- Manual handling/lifting
And the most common injuries suffered are:
- Back injury
- Head injury
- Neck injury
- Sprains and strains
- Repetitive strain injury
So what are the business sectors where personal injury at work is most likely?
Agriculture comes in first, with 2,240 injuries per 100,000 workers, followed by Construction with 1,550 and Transport with 1,350.
Fatal injuries in the workplace are, thankfully, rare but the most common cause of fatal injury in the workplace is falling from a height, followed by transport accidents such as being hit by a vehicle or falling from a vehicle. Hundreds of people have died at work having been trapped by something falling or collapsing onto them or having been struck by a falling or moving object.
Where vehicles are involved, by far the highest level of injury and fatality is related to fork-lift truck accidents with an average 1,500 fork-lift accidents resulting in personal injury every year. Research suggests that this is often due to a lack of training or poor maintenance of the fork-lift truck.
However the government has now set targets under the Revitalising Health and Safety initiative to cut injuries and the latest available figures do show that already the rate of fatal and over-three-day accidents in the UK is a lot lower than the majority of other EU countries.
If you have been injured in an accident at work that was not your fault then you may be able to claim compensation.