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Work Place Risk Assessments, Helping To Avoid Work Accidents

   By: Sophie Evans

Workplaces can be dangerous environments. Even an innocuous office space can be home to hundreds of potential hazards, anything from trailing computer leads, unsupportive chairs and glare from VDUs can cause a work accident. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there are hundreds of thousands of work accidents in the UK every year, with 35 million working days lost due to an injury sustained in the workplace. 28 million of those were due to work related illness and 7 million were due to workplace injury.

Employers are legally required to carry out a risk assessment in their workplace. It is not difficult to carry out a simple risk assessment and it can save money through avoiding the likelihood of personal injury claims and more importantly the suffering caused by a work accident.

The main consideration for an employer is whether a risk is a significant hazard. Most risks will be obvious and precautions already addressed. For example most office employers supply a suitable chair and proper facilities such as lighting, good ventilation and a comfortable environment. It is important however, that employers check and adhere to the provisions of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Management Regulations). The regulations indicate the need to identify all hazards that are likely to cause a work accident and that could cause personal injury to anyone in the work environment including members of the public.

Under the provisions of the regulations employers are required to do a thorough assessment of all areas that they feel could potentially prove hazardous. There are also more specific areas that need to be addressed, such as manual handling.

If staff are required to lift objects as part of their role then they will need to be properly trained on how to lift safely to minimise the risk of injury. They will also need to follow guidelines under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 which state that:

Avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable, for example by redesigning the task to avoid moving the load or by automating or mechanising the process

Make a suitable and sufficient assessment of any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided

Reduce the risk of injury from those operations so far as is reasonably practicable. Where possible, you should provide mechanical assistance, for example a sack trolley or hoist. Where this is not reasonably practicable, look at ways of changing the task, the load and working environment

There are many other regulations that need to be followed such as noise regulations in environments such as airports, for manual workers using drilling equipment and nightclub workers. The risk assessment in this situation should be carried out before work begins in order to minimise the risk of a work accident such as tinnitus or a more serious personal injury.

If you have sustained a work related injury and are suffering as a result then you may be entitled to claim personal injury compensation. If your employer has failed to carry out adequate work place risk assessments then they have failed in their duty of care to you and you are entitled to seek legal advice about your personal situation.

For advice regarding making a work accident claim or to learn more about personal injury visit, or alternatively you can call them on 0800 197 32 32 for free legal advice. have many years experience of handling personal injury claims and can help anyone suffering from work related injuries to move on with their lives.

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