Health and Safety Training: How to Prevent Work-Related Injuries and Deaths
In a modern-day working environment, there are numerous hazards that require extensive training and education in order to avoid. Without educational training, workers risk harming their bodies or even facing death.
According to UK Government statistics, the number of injured workers has steadily decreased over the past 20 years due in large part to the rising popularity of safety training. Unfortunately, many work environments do not provide such services and fatalities still occur. Just last year 142 individuals died due to work-related injuries. Of these 142 individuals, 51 workers died in the services industry, 35 were killed in construction, 16 in manufacturing, 33 in agriculture and one in mining. These industries, and even ones which are not typically considered high-risk working environments, present numerous hazards to workers that unless properly addressed could result in deadly consequences.
The most common workplace injuries are related to handling dangerous substances, misuse of machinery, electrocution, falling objects, motor vehicle accidents, and falling from height. There are also a number of health-related issues that workers could face. These include asbestos (often found in older buildings), Blood Borne Viruses, Legionella from water and cooling systems, and skin or respiratory hazards due to improper exposure. All of these are easily avoided with proper training, however many incidents are unfortunately still happening due to improper education of workers.
Avoiding workplace injuries and fatalities is important not just of course for the employee but also for employers, who risk losing valuable members of its workforce to circumstances that could have been prevented with the right precautions. These precautions include extensive on-the-job safety training that educates workers on not only the hazards involved in their work but the correct ways to avoid such hazards. Follow-up and proper management is also important in avoiding workplace fatalities.
Sharing Lessons With Others for Health and Safety Training
It Is Near Impossible to Remove Every Risk
Unfortunately despite all of the health and safety training and preventative measures in the world, accidents and near misses still occur. Whilst many potential risks and hazards can be minimised, it is impossible to entirely eliminate all chance of an incident occurring unless impractical steps are taken such as closing down the business completely.
So despite safety precautions, health and safety training, qualifications like the NEBOSH Diploma and so forth, there is no getting away from the fact that accidents, incidents and near misses will still occur. Their likelihood can, most of the time, only be minimised and reduced rather than eliminated completely. Not only then do items and procedures need to be ready to handle such a situation, like the provision of fire extinguishers and emergency evacuation plans, but lessons need to be learnt from these events in order to lessen even further the potential for them to happen in the future.
Sharing Health and Safety Information to Prevent Harm
These incidents do not necessarily need to happen to a person, department or even an entire company personally for them to benefit from the experience. This is because the lessons learned and knowledge gained from an accident or near miss can be shared with others in order to increase their awareness and understanding so that they are less likely to suffer the same fate.
Companies are naturally wary about sharing information. Of course this makes sense from a competition perspective; others should figure things out for themselves rather than being told (or stealing) the results of another firm's hard work. However a different approach should be taken when it comes to health and safety. This topic is not the same as a new product or process which will give the company a competitive advantage for more money, it is a topic which affects the lives and health of human beings. There needs to be difference between a company keeping secret the results of research which could increase its profits, and keeping secret information which could save the life of a person working for a different firm.
Collaboration on safety information between firms operating in the same industry can significantly improve the overall levels of health and safety at both businesses. An incident which takes place at one can provide lessons and suggestions for improvements/modifications at the other business to prevent a similar occurrence, rather then waiting for a person to be killed or injured before realising that something needs to be changed. The more companies that collaborate, the greater the amount of information shared and the more that can be learnt and implemented before a similar incident takes place at the other businesses.
The Need for Health and Safety Collaboration
The many different facets to the topic of health and safety mean that there are a lot of areas which need attention in order to keep people and the environment safe from harm. Whether this be organisational issues, technical requirements, potential for human error, environmental influences etc, the information to be learnt and the potential for incidents are significant. Collaboration reduces the workload of each different business, and enables them to create a safer place of work in a much shorter period of time than if they had to figure out everything themselves. This is particularly true of a new businesses with an inexperienced management team and workforce, who can learn from an established player in the market.
Related Article: Stability and Workplace Dangers
The stability of equipment, stock, items of furniture; in fact pretty much anything in the workplace is often overlooked but is just one vital aspect of creating a safe place of work, as unstable objects can cause serious injuries or even kill a person if they were to fall on top of them. Whilst light objects can still cause injuries, heavy items can be particularly damaging. Items which fall from above such as those stacked up high are likely to impact upon a person's head first as that is the highest point of the body when a person stands up. The resulting blow to the head can cause concussion or skull damage, and if the person is rendered unconscious, they may injure themselves further as they fall to the ground.
Health and safety risks with regards to stability are not just limited to items which are high up. Not only can machines and items which are situated on the ground topple over and crush a worker, but certain machinery needs to be stable when it is operated, otherwise it could pose a danger no the person using it. For example, circular saw benches need to be stable otherwise there is a real risk of the operator cutting into their hand and doing themselves a nasty injury. In fact, the sufficient stability of machinery and equipment is so important that it is referred to in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 (PUWER).
Virtually every place of work will have a risk from unstable items, whether it be a workshop which has cutting machinery, a laundrette containing big heavy washing machines, or an office with boxes of stationery piled high or up on shelves. The stability and location of items is just a small part of the overall practice of good health and safety at work, and often goes hand-in-hand with other elements such as manual handling and training in office safety.
Health & Safety Training from The BCF Group
At the BCF Group, we provide customised hazard training to fit the needs of your company. Our extensive knowledge base allows us to train all employees in avoiding common injuries that could result in fatalities. Without training, employees risk making common mistakes that could prove highly dangerous for both them as well as your company.
With the right training, your employees will not only feel safer at work, but will actually be safer. While work can sometimes seem intuitive, safety and health information is not always well-known, and often times requires professional training. With in-person training, substantive materials and frequent refresher courses your workers will be safer: and so will your company!