Common Places To Suffer An Injury At Work

Injuries at work don’t just happen in factories

Mention accidents at work to most people and they will assume that some kind of industrial or factory environment is the most likely place to suffer injury at work. But the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are trying to reinforce the point that not all accidents happen in these kinds of environments, and that accidents in supposedly safe places such as care homes are just as likely – and just as devastating.

The HSE has been holding seminars for Scottish care home owners to try and bring down the number of accidents. In the past two years, 977 work-related accidents, including one fatality, have been reported in Scottish care homes and though the majority of injuries have been to employees, a number of care services users have also been hurt. During the period from 2006-2008, 202 injuries to services users were recorded. The majority of these were due to slips, trips and falls. If that number is rolled out across the rest of the UK, it is evident that both workers and services users are just as likely to suffer some kind of injury as in any other workplace.

The attendees were given advice at the seminars on such topics as how to manage the risks of slips and trips, the moving and handling of people and other risks affecting those using the care home service. The events have been well attended, showing a genuine commitment within the care industry to minimise the risks, both to their clients and to their workers. The numbers of those injured every year shows that, even in the best run care homes, accidents still happen. So the seminars concentrated on aspects such as how accidents can be avoided by taking simple steps to avoid trips or falls. They also looked at how back injuries could be avoided by lifting and moving loads correctly.

Care workers are often called upon to assist the frail and infirm to move in and out of bed or to stand up from a seated position. It is here that, unless the care worker has been taught the correct method, injuries to the back can easily occur. While many of these are often genuine accidents with no blame apportioned to any third party, poor training or being forced to deal with a situation alone where normal regulations stipulate two carers should be in attendance can be considered to be negligent on the part of the care home worker’s employer. It is in these instances that care workers may have a legitimate claim for compensation. The trouble is that, by their very nature, care workers are often less willing to apportion blame, even if there is a clear case in their favour.

While the HSE’s attempts to draw attention to the potential hazards in care home environments is to be welcomed, it should be said that everyone, no matter what environment they work in, has the right to compensation if they have been injured at their place of work through the negligence of their employer. Whether that place is a warehouse or a care home, an injury can have the same devastating effect on an employee’s ability to continue working. Preventable injuries, no matter what the arena, should be treated with the same degree of seriousness.

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