Statistics show that the UK has the safest workplace in Europe, thanks to strict health and safety regulations and increased awareness of their importance. However, not every workplace is as committed to the wellbeing of its employees as it should be, and some industries are inherently more hazardous than others, so workplace accidents are not uncommon. One in the UK is a recent accident at work, and 18 to 24-year-olds are more likely to suffer from a workplace injury than their older colleagues. Here, the team at LegalExpert.co.uk provide a breakdown of what you need to know when embarking on a placement, internship or work experience.
Some risks are as possible. Workplace hazards tend to be sorted into six categories:
Organizational - caused by poor workplace practices, ie fatigue, harassment
Chemical - caused by exposure to chemical solids, liquids or gases, ie burns, fumes
Physical - caused by exposure to harsh conditions, ie radiation, extreme temperature
Biological - caused by organic matter, ie bodily fluids, mould or fungi
Ergonomic - caused by unsuitable equipment/furniture, ie uncomfortable desks
Safety - caused by unsafe working conditions, ie spills, trips, work at height
Many risks can be avoided through proactivity. Tasks that present risk should always be carried out with clean protective equipment and in adherence to all safety regulations.
What to Expect
Most workplaces will have procedures in place to train employees in health and safety, and this should be recruited sooner than later. Workers should not be given any physical tasks before they have received training in how to do so safely.
If you have not been able to carry out a task in a safe way, tell your supervisor, and do not have adequate training. It is absolutely your right to prioritize your personal safety in such situations. If you have a job in your workplace, do not hesitate to contact us, contact your trade union or the Health and Safety Executive.
Taking good care of yourself is an important role in staying safe at work. Fatigue is a contributing factor in a surprising number of injuries, both in and out of the workplace, and so is essential. Try to get eight hours of sleep a night, eat a nutritious breakfast before you go and work hydrated throughout the day. Giving your body what it needs to be alert, on top of your game and prepared for the workplace is very important.
If You Have an Accident
In the event of an accident in the workplace, your manager should be immediately informed, and details of the incident recorded in the company's accident book. If this is not done, write down the details yourself, make a copy of the document and send it to your manager. If required, seek medical attention, and inform the practitioner of the circumstances surrounding your injury.
You are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, and may well be eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. You may also decide to pursue a claim for compensation from your employer if your accident cannot be prevented, in which case, legal advice should be sought.
Workplace injury is more preventable now than ever thanks to increased awareness, employee rights and legal requirements, but you have to go to work, it is your employer's responsibility.
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