Accidents happen all the time because we’re humans and sometimes make mistakes. But when we’re injured because of someone else, especially at the workplace, it’s more serious than that. Businesses breaching their duty of care can sometimes lead to trials in which employees are unsuccessful because they didn’t provide the evidence, even if they were the ones to suffer more. But companies should implement better safety measures for every one of their workers, and here’s why.
Employees experience accidents at the workplace
The Health and Safety Executive in the UK has established a series of rules and ways for businesses to implement safety in the workplace. Unfortunately, some companies are not enforcing them correctly or treating safety seriously; therefore, employees experience accidents at the workplace. Even if the trend is going down, the non-fatal injuries at work in the UK are still more than 50.000, and 123 fatal in 2021/2022.
Among the most frequent non-fatal accidents are:
- Slips, trips or falls on the same level (33%)
- Injuries occurred while handling, lifting or carrying (18%)
- Struck by moving object (10%)
- Falls from a height (8%)
But these are not the only accidents resulting from workplace accidents. Some people also experience work-related musculoskeletal disorders, occupational lung diseases and work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Although in some industries, like human health, public administration and defence and education, the ill-health rates are high, in agriculture, construction and accommodation services, the injury rates at the workplace are significantly higher.
But why do accidents happen? Sometimes, the workload can tire employees or stress them out, leading to unavoidable falls or strips. But poor lighting, hazardous materials, and equipment are more frequently causing accidents.
Casualties have consequences on the company’s reputation
In the UK, businesses are legally responsible for the well-being and safety of their staff. In the Health and safety regulations, it is also stated that employers must provide insurance for their employees; otherwise, they can be fined £2,500 or £1,000 if they refuse to make the EL (Employers’ Liability) certificates to inspectors when they ask.
Curiously, some companies tend to avoid such regulations and hide their incidents because they would make a bad impression on the business. But such events can significantly alter a company’s reputation for future employees in the first place but also for customers.
When a company is known for its lack of safety measures, no employee will be interested in a position there because no one wants to risk their life, no matter the salary. Then, clients will look for companies who respect their duties of care regarding their employees because this means that the business is trustworthy.
For example, if you look for a job at a company with a questionable past, it would be best to avoid applying and looking for another job. Or, if you find yourself there and you have an accident, you’re eligible to file a claim in the UK, as long as you can prove that your employer’s negligence caused the accident. Remember to report any unethical behaviours in the report book and take photographs or videos of hazardous things at the workplace.
Accidents can affect productivity levels
Accidents can profoundly affect workers’ productivity and mental health. Of course, this will result in a high employee turnover rate when people constantly leave while others are being recruited. Accidents present several costs to the employer, including salary costs, productivity losses, retraining and medical expenses.
But here’s what are the effects of poor health systems on employees:
- Physical effects. Workers who have suffered accidents will have to endure persistent pain and headaches, loss of ability to handle materials and retirement due to permanent injury. This not only affects the company’s output but it can also make other employees want to leave.
- Psychological effects. As seen before, anxiety, stress and depression are common in the workplace and can affect productivity levels. They are mostly caused by substantial workload, poor management and deficient company culture. These effects also impinged on after-work activities with families, further depreciating employees’ perception of the workplace.
- Employer-employee relationships. Although employers are not aware of the relationships with their employees, they can heavily affect productivity levels. Poor assignation, lack of communication and rough behaviour can make employees have hard feelings about their superiors.
A business has plenty of benefits from having a healthy company culture
A well-organised corporate culture has plenty of benefits, besides a good reputation and employee retention. But if employees are taken care of and provided with the proper equipment and training, the company can further improve its:
- Customer satisfaction. When your team is strong as a unit and trusts their employer, they can create good products and deliver proper services, meaning that customers will stick around and refer others to the business.
- Revenue goals. Corporate culture affects revenue because customers’ opinions about the company will make them buy more or, on the other hand, choose other businesses for their needs.
- Growth. A healthy workforce drives employee engagement, meaning that employees who are confident in their employer’s products and services will perform better, allowing enough space for business growth.
- Decision-making process. Corporate values should support employees’ ability to make decisions. The decision-making process can be better assessed if they’re encouraged to speak out loud and express their opinion.
- Employee retention. One of the biggest challenges of a company is employee turnover. But if a business can provide more than a paycheck and has a strong culture, it will experience less turnover, and employees will come to stay.
- Company image. No matter the social media presence, word-to-mouth is not to be underestimated because employees have social circles that can spread around the truth behind companies.
There’s a constant need to spread awareness about workplace injuries because even if the trend is downwards, such casualties could be avoided if employers would provide the right training and equipment. So, as a business, keep in mind that workers are most productive when they’re in a safe environment and are respected and heard.