The UK workforce is facing more injuries and sick leave than ever before, with over 27.3 million days a year now being lost in the UK due to workplace injuries or work-related stress.
From physical injuries to mental strain and stress-induced illness, workers in the UK now face more hazards as our working lives become more intense and pressurised. With World Day for Safety and Health at Work on Thursday 28th April raising awareness of the strain of a busy modern work life, it’s never been more important to have a healthy workplace.
A recent report by Health and Safety Executive discovered there were 142 workers killed in the UK in 2014/2015, equating to a work-related death every 2.5 days. Added to this, workplace stress is now directly responsible for a quarter of sickness absence at work.
By having adequate first aid measures in place, a workplace can stop minor injuries from worsening and becoming major incidents, which may then lead to prolonged absence or even fatalities.
So from first aid training and avoiding injury to managing stress and promoting a calmer environment, read on for tips from imperative training on how to ensure you have a safer workplace and a happy and healthy workforce:
- Appoint a designated staff member to look after the health and safety of your workplace, including maintaining first aid supplies
- Carry out a risk assessment to help you determine what hazards there are and what measures you need to put in place and establish a clear health and safety policy
- You must display a health and safety law poster to your workers that outlines the health and safety requirements of your business in a clear and accessible area
- Provide appropriate training to staff members so they know how to work safely, including operating machinery or hazardous equipment
- Take immediate action if an employee injures themselves or falls ill, and ensure you have a trained first aider and first aid kit on your work premises
- Employers’ liability insurance can be invaluable for your business and help pay towards any compensation an employee receives for an injury or illness incurred at work
- Offer advice and create an open forum whereby staff can speak to someone when they feel stressed or pressured, and stop workplace stress from becoming an issue
Absence management expert Adrian Lewis from Activ Absence says:
“People often forget that workplace stress is also an ‘industrial injury’. Stress and depression can be just as damaging and life changing as physical workplace injuries, so it’s important to help employees stay well and create a supportive work environment and an open, non-judgemental culture regarding mental illness.
“The tips above are fantastic in helping avoid injuries, but when problems do occur, it is vital to identify injured or stressed employees as soon as possible. If you aren’t even keeping accurate records of sickness absence, that in itself is a challenge – how can you put things right if you aren’t measuring the scale of the problem? Accurate record keeping and analysis (i.e. not spreadsheets or paper forms), a data driven wellness policy and improved health and safety training hold the key to tackling those 27.3 million days a year and helping the real people behind the headlines.
“Regardless of the financial cost to employers, the human cost of workplace deaths, stress and injuries is unacceptably high.”