December 18, 2019
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Common office risks for your employees
Understanding the key causes of non-fatal injuries in the workplace is essential – every time an employee is out of action it costs business owners both time and money.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 581,000 workers self-reported a non-fatal workplace injury between 2018-2019. Within the same timeframe, employers recorded 69,208 non-fatal employee injuries.

It's possible to take various safety measures, performing frequent risk assessments on your employees’ workspaces. However, you can never rule out every risk. Accidents happen and, if you don’t have cover, you could be liable if an employee gets hurt.

Insurance Choice understands that your business is your livelihood. We offer competitive commercial property insurance, tailored to your individual needs and budget. Our reliable policies give you peace of mind you’re protected, and can include liability cover among other features.

Take a look at our guide to common office risks and start safeguarding your staff today.
 

How many working days are lost due to injuries?

In 2018-19, 4.7 million working days were lost due to non-fatal workplace injuries. This rate has been largely consistent in recent years, so it’s clear: workplace accidents still pose a big risk to businesses UK-wide.
 

What are the main causes of workplace injuries?

Here are the most common causes of non-fatal workplace injuries, as reported by HSE:

Falls, trips or slips on same level – 29%
Carrying, handling or lifting – 20%
Hit by a moving object – 10%
Acts of violence – 8%
Falling from a height – 8%


Understandably, for business owners, statistics such as these are concerning. If an employee is injured and you have no insurance provision, you could find yourself liable – this is why reliable commercial property insurance is so important.
A persons boot about to slip on a banana peel on the floor

What are the most common office risks?

All workplaces pose potential risks. On construction sites, for example, the dangers are obvious, so helmets, hi-vis jackets and the like tend to be compulsory.

But what about when the dangers aren’t so obvious? Office employees are often lulled into a false sense of security, given the seemingly low-risk nature of their workspace.

Learning more about common office risks will help you improve your employees’ safety, so let’s get started:

A messy environment

It’s essential to enforce strict tidiness standards in the workspace. Why? Lazy housekeeping sets a bad precedent, increasing the chance of hazards, which, in turn, can cause accidents in the office.

Keeping a clean and tidy shop promotes safer working practices and lowers risk of injury.

Taking shortcuts

Many of us are guilty of taking shortcuts, trying to get the job done so we can race home earlier. Rushing jobs can give rise to a range of potential hazards, ramping up the likelihood of someone getting hurt.

This is why it’s vital for managers to introduce rigid procedures for all workplace tasks, checking that these are followed on a consistent basis.

Employees should be made aware of the risks attached to ignoring standard procedures, as this may deter them from cutting corners.

Getting distracted

After several hours of sitting at your desk in the office, it’s easy to fall prey to distractions.

Bored employees might use their phones or chat to co-workers, while simultaneously walking or working. This can lead to accidents, so employees should be allowed to enjoy frequent breaks. After a change of scenery and some fresh air, their concentration will likely sharpen, making for a safer workspace.

Overexertion

Take extra caution when asking employees to carry out physical duties – even in an office. Repetitive lifting, kneeling, pulling, pushing or bending over for long periods can damage physical health, especially when proper techniques aren’t followed.

Slips, trips and falls

Trailing computer wires, open drawers and spillages are all examples of hazards that easily trigger preventable accidents. Make sure you highlight these risks to all employees, using the appropriate signage to alert them to slippery surfaces.
 

How can I make my workplace safer?

A clean desk top working spaceIf you want to provide a safer workplace, performing a risk assessment is a great place to start.

HSE released a case study demonstrating how this should be done.

The study describes a company with 18 employees, one of whom uses a wheelchair. The company offices contain toilets on each floor, as well as a kitchen in which workers are able to prepare drinks and warm up food.

Every evening contractors stop by to clean the offices, using cleaning chemicals that are stored within a locked cupboard.

The office building has 24-hour security cover, 7 days a week. The block is locked up after 9pm and opened at 6am from Monday to Friday – it’s fully closed at the weekend.

To carry out a thorough risk assessment, the manager followed HSE advice, walking around the office and identifying potential hazards. They also:
 
  • Checked the accident book to see what caused previous accidents
  • Read through advice given by HSE on employees with disabilities
  • Alongside staff and supervisors, talked to disabled employees about their experiences, learning from these and listening to any concerns.
  • Discussed office safety with the cleaning contractors, ensuring their activities wouldn’t jeopardise staff safety.

After this, the manager took note of any safeguarding measures already taken and highlighted areas in which further action was needed. They displayed a copy of this assessment in the staff break area, to raise awareness and motivate employees to help maintain safety-conscious changes.

If any notable workplace alterations occur, the manager will re-assess potential risks. For example: the introduction of new employees, work duties or work equipment.
 

3 easy ways to prevent workplace accidents

  1. Invest in proper lighting throughout the workplace
  2. Ensure wet surfaces are dealt with quickly
  3. Never string wires across walkways


Protecting your investment

As a business owner, you want reassurance your investment’s protected. From employee injuries to business interruption, you face a variety of risks every day.

Insurance Choice is here to help. Our commercial property insurance is competitively priced and designed to fit around you and your business – you’ll be in safe hands with us.
Get a quote today.