• Impact of workplace accidents can be costly for employers and employees

    Michelle McDonagh, Consulting and Client Relationship Manager, Adare Human Resource Management

    Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with news of workplace accidents, which is particularly the case at this time of the year when the risk of agricultural incidents is at its highest. According to the HSA, there were 38 work-related fatalities in 2021, with 11 of these in the agricultural sector1.

    A previous report from the HSA highlighted that there were 9,335 non-fatal injuries reported in 2019, with 20% associated with Health & Social Work and Manufacturing and Wholesale & Retail accounting for 15.8% and 13.5% respectfully2.

    The most recent Annual Report from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) stated that 13% of all claims received in 2021 were against Employer’s Liability with average claims of over €35,000 (pre-Personal Injuries Guidelines). This figure is similar to previous reports, highlighting little increase in the number of workplace incidents. This is also mirrored in our most recent HR Barometer Report which found that two-thirds (67%) of businesses stated that the level of short-term absence due to workplace accidents had stayed the same over the past 12 months.

    But it’s not just the obvious financial claims associated with workplace accidents that impacts businesses. There are costs relating to decreased productivity, medical and healthcare costs as well as insurance costs; all clearly demonstrating the less accidents, the less absence and the lower the associated costs.

    But what are the 5 things can employers do to help ensure a safer working environment for employees and minimise risks?

    1. Update Safety Statement & Risk Assessments

    2. Conduct Regular safety audits and drills

    3. Deliver appropriate training and briefings

    4. Record any accident details, remedy and address causes

    5. Engage regularly with employee to manage Health & Safety

    Firstly, ensuring health & safety processes are up to date and are clearly outlined in the relevant safety statement and employee handbook. It’s important that regular safety audits are conducted to identify any potential shortcoming; this is particularly important if there have been any changes such as new procedures, equipment, office space etc.

    Regular safety drills and exercises should be done regularly so everyone is aware of the procedures in case an incident arises. Employers have a responsibility to ensure all employees receive the appropriate training required to carry out their tasks, including the safe and correct way of using any relevant equipment.

    Keeping a record of accidents, however minor, is important to ensure issues can be addressed and remedied if required. And, engaging with employees so they understand their responsibilities in avoiding workplace incidents is also crucial.

    Our expert Health & Safety Consultants at Adare Human Resource Management are vastly experienced in managing all aspects of workplace health and safety. We work with Chamber members across the country by preparing them for unannounced HSA site visits, updating policies and procedures and conducting maternity risk assessments, safety audits and creating/updating safety statements.

    We also provide manual handling training and dignity at work training, a service that has seen an increased demand since the return to the workplace post-Covid.

    Our team also identifies some less obvious risks such as those associated with employee grievance or conflict and disputes among staff and can provide training and support to manage these issues.

    As your HR Partner, we have produced a couple of downloadable documents that you might find helpful in terms of identifying some risks in your own business:
    · Risk Assessment Checklist here
    · Manual Handling Risk Assessment document here
    · Sample Accident Report Form here

    If you require additional expert support and advice, please get in touch with the team today.

    Adare Human Resource Management is a team of expert-led Employment Law, Industrial Relations and best practice Human Resource Management consultants. For more information go to www.adarehrm.ie or call (01) 561 3594 or email adarechambers@adarehrm.ie.

    If you would like support with a Health and Safety concern or would like to have a comprehensive review of your Health and Safety documents, please click here to book a call with one of our team who would be happy to assist.

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