The most common injuries in construction work and how to avoid them

  • 3 Jan 2020

There are many risks that companies and individuals must be aware of and aim to prevent on construction sites. While this can be a dangerous industry to operate in, sites should always run safely and efficiently to minimise any potential harm to workers.

Construction companies should undertake risk assessments to outline all potential risks on each job and implement strategies to reduce these risks.

While all precautions may be in place to reduce risks, unfortunately, accidents can happen. So what are the most common injuries sustained by construction workers in Britain?

25% of non-fatal injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls

The latest statistics from HSE have shown that slips, trips and falls are the most common non-fatal accidents experienced by UK construction workers. In the year 2018-19, there were 1,223 reported slips, trips and falls, of which 509 were specified – which RIDDOR defines as “fitting within their pre-defined list of injuries”. Further to this, 714 people had to take over seven days off work due to the injuries they sustained.

What causes slips, trips and falls?

Unfortunately, tripping over objects can happen in any workplace or construction site. People can easily slip on a substance that has been spilt on the floor and not cleaned up, trip over loose wires or fall into holes that have not been adequately signposted.

How can these types of accident be prevented?

Before any work is undertaken, all workers should complete safety training, so they are aware of any potential hazards. The training should educate them on safety standards that must be followed, and they should be given access to all company policies regarding health and safety, as well as told who the site first aider is.

Further to this, all workers must have appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect them from hazards. This may include a hard hat, goggles, gloves, safety boots and high-vis jackets. If the site will be particularly noisy, they may also require ear defenders or plugs.

When it comes to slips and trips, protection systems should be in place to stop them from happening. This may be guardrails, scaffolding, nets or other structures to ensure staff safety. All areas should be kept clean and tidy, with walkways free from clutter, debris or spills to reduce these types of accidents.

What to do after a work-related accident

Firstly, you should report your accident at work to your employer, in the company accident book, and to your doctor. It’s also worth taking photos of your injury and writing down exactly what happened afterwards so you don’t forget any details. If there was anyone with you at the time, get their contact details and ask them to make notes too.

If you are unable to work because of your injury, you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay, which can be claimed for 28 weeks. You can check whether you’re eligible on the government website. You may also be able to claim compensation if the accident wasn’t your fault, through companies like National Accident Law. They will listen to your situation and offer you free, impartial advice so you can decide what to do next.

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