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Types of Accidents

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Although many workplace accidents have relatively minor repercussions, which could result in just a paper cut or scratch, others can have more serious – and potentially fatal – consequences.

For instance, there are some industries in which individuals are more exposed to occupational hazards than others, such as the construction trade. This had the highest rate of fatal injuries out of all other industry sections in 2011/12. During this period, falls accounted for 51% of construction injuries resulting in death, demonstrating that builders are more likely to fall from height than those who work in less dangerous locations, such as an office.

An independent watchdog – the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – aims to reduce the number of work-related fatalities and injuries within Great Britain, publishing statistics that show the different – and most common – types of reported workplace injuries across a range of sectors.

For example, the HSE reported that, between 2011 and 2012, incidents such as falls from height, becoming trapped by a falling structure, and being struck by a vehicle or moving object, were the reasons for the majority of fatalities to British workers.

It was also revealed that slips, trips or falls were responsible for more than 50% of serious injuries to employees. Furthermore, the majority of incidents that resulted in employees taking more than three days off work – or affected their ability to perform their usual duties over this period – were caused by handling accidents.

Although some accidents at work can have minor effects, the HSE statistics revealed that more than 27 million working days were lost between 2011 and 2012 due to occupational illness or personal injury, proving that these incidents can have serious repercussions.

Causal factors

Accidents arise from unsafe behavior and/or unsafe conditions. An important factor is the safety climate or safety culture of an organization. Safety culture concerns how workplace safety is managed, consisting of the shared attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and values among employees. Faulty equipment can also cause serious personal injuries, a common example being accidents from faulty ladders. If the rubber feet are absent, the base of the aluminium stile can slip suddenly on a hard floor and the user fall.

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