People are most often involved in the accidents as they walk around the workplace or when they come into contact with the vehicles in or around the workplace. It is therefore essential to understand the various common accident that is happening in every workplace, causes & the control strategies that can be employed to reduce these types of accidents at the workplace.
Slips, trips & falls estimate for the majority of events to the walkers, and the more severe collisions between the pedestrians and vehicles can often be traced back to excessive speed or other unsafe vehicle practices, such as the lack of driver training. An efficient management system can significantly reduce many of the risks associated with these hazards.
Hazards to the Pedestrians
The most common hazards to pedestrians at the workplace are slips, trips & falls on the equivalent level, falls from height, colliding with moving wheels, being hit by walking, falling or flying objects and striking against fixed or stationary objects. Each of these will be analysed in turn, including the conditions and the environment in which the appropriate hazard may occur.
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Slips, Trips & Falls On The Equivalent Level
These are the most general hazards suffered by the pedestrians and accounted for 30% of all the significant accidents every year and 20% of over 3-day injuries communicated to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who has informed that every 25 minutes someone breaks or fractures a bone due to slipping, tripping or falling at work.
It has been ascertained that annual value of these accidents to the nation is £ 750 million and a direct cost to employers of £ 300 million. The largest reported injuries are stated in the food and associated industries.
Older workers, particularly women, are the most severely injured group from falls resulting in fractures of the hips and femur. Civil compensation claims are enhancing more common and costly to employers, and such applications are now being made by members of the public who have tripped on uneven paving slabs on pavements or in shopping centres.
The HSE has been so concerned at a large number of such accidents that it has identified slips, trips and falls on the same level as a key risk area. The costs of slips, trips and falls on the same level are high to the injured employee (lost income and pain), the employer (direct and indirect costs including lost production) and to society as a whole regarding health and social security costs.
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Slip hazards are caused by:
- Wet or dusty floors;
- The spillage of watery or dry substances – oil, water, fl our dust and plastic pellets used in the plastic manufacture loose mats on slippery floors;
- Wet and icy weather conditions;
- Unsuitable footwear or floor coverings or sloping floors.
Trip hazards are caused by:
- Loose floorboards or carpets;
- Obstructions, low walls, low fixtures on the floor;
- Cables or trailing leads across walkways or uneven surfaces;
- Leads to portable electrical hand tools and other electrical appliances (vacuum cleaners and
- Raised telephone and electrical sockets – also a severe trip hazard (this can be a significant
- the, when the display screen workstations are re-orientated in an office,);
- Rugs and mats – especially when worn or placed on a polished surface;
- Poor housekeeping – obstacles left on walkways rubbish not removed regularly;
- Poor lighting levels – particularly near steps or other changes in level;
- Sloping or uneven floors – particularly where there is inadequate lighting or no handrails;
- Unsuitable footwear – shoes with a slippery sole or lack of ankle support.
The vast majority of significant accidents involving slips, trips and falls on the same level resulting in dislocated or fractured bones.
Falls From Work at Height
These are the most common cause of severe injury or death in the construction industry and the topic is covered in Chapter 16. These accidents are often concerned with falls of higher than about 2 m and often result in fractured bones, severe head injuries, loss of consciousness and death.
Twenty-five percent of all deaths at work and 19% of all the significant accidents are because of falls from the height. Falls staircases and stairways, through delicate surfaces, off landings and stepladders and from vehicles, all come into this category. Injury, sometimes severe, can also result from falls below 2 m, for example using swivel chairs for access to high shelves.
Collisions With Moving Vehicles
These can happen within the workplace premises or on the access roads around the building. It is a particular obstacle where there is no separation between pedestrians and vehicles or where vehicles are speeding.
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Poor lighting, blind corners, the lack of warning signs and barriers at road crossing points also raise the risk of this type of accident. Eighteen percent of deaths at work are because of collisions between pedestrians and moving vehicles with the highest number happening in the service sector (primarily in retail and warehouse activities).
Being Struck By Moving, Falling Or Flying Objects
This causes 18% of fatalities at work and is the second highest cause of death in the construction industry. It also creates the 15% of all significant and 14% of over 3-day accidents. Moving objects include articles being moved, moving parts of machinery or conveyor belt systems, and flying objects are often made by the disintegration of a moving part or a failure of the system under pressure.
Falling objects are a major difficulty in construction (due to careless working at height) and in warehouse work (due to not caring the stacking of pallets on the racking). The head is particularly vulnerable to these types of hazards. Items falling off high shelves and moving loads are also significant hazards in many sectors of industry.
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Striking Against Fixed Or Stationary Objects
This accounts for over 1000 higher accidents every year. Damages are caused to a person either by colliding with a fixed part of the building structure, work in process, a machine member or a stationary vehicle or by falling toward such objects.
The head seems to be the most vulnerable part of the body to this particular hazard, and this is regularly caused by the misinterpretation of the height of an obstacle.
Concussion in a mild form is the various common result and a medical check-up is commonly recommended. It is a very extensive injury during the maintenance operations when there is, perhaps, less familiarity with particular space restrictions around a machine.
Efficient solutions to all these hazards need not be expensive, time-consuming or complicated. Employee information and common sense combined with a good housework regime will solve many of the problems.