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Written by
on 18 March 2014

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hi vis vest and safety hatWorkplace Safety

Workplaces like offices and shops ordinarily pass for safe environments while building and construction sites are considered hazardous. However, even as the high-risk jobs are given particular attention to avoid a high rate of injuries, paper cuts still count for injuries. Workplace safety demands that no form of work should be ignored when it comes to addressing the risks and common injuries in the workplace. Anything can cause you to be held liable for your employees" injuries due to negligence.

The Leeds Case that Was

Not even a controlled environment can be said to be absolutely free of accident risks. ï¿¼The injuries that happened to a leading Leeds print firm worker testify to the realities ï¿¼of physical accidents and their serious consequences.

On 6 February 2014, Polestar UK Print Ltd was prosecuted by Leeds Magistrates" Court following the partial finger amputation of an employee as a result of safety failures. Investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the 55- year-old worker got injured while working with dangerous yet improperly guarded machine parts.

Polestar UK Print Ltd failed to provide a safe work system for maintenance or clearing blockages. Access to the magazine insert feeder machine was through a side panel that ought to have been fixed into place or interlocked to make sure the machine did not run when the panel was taken off. On 12 February 2012, the worker was removing debris from the machine when it started up and his hand got caught in the cogs. The shear point created sliced off his first finger. He has been unable to work.

HSE also found that the blockages were removed without first isolating the machine ï¿¼the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the firm was given a £10,000 fine and ordered to pay a full cost of £2,997.

Eliminate Physical Accidents from Negligence

Any work that mostly involves manual labour has potential risks of physical accidents.
These can occur merely by moving heavy materials. In fact more than a third of all work-related injuries are from carrying and moving objects, which constitutes a large part of most office, retail, and clerical jobs. Even a short trip on an ordinary working day can be the cause of a strain, fracture or break. The dangers become greater with use of the heavier machinery like drills, cutting machines, and power tools. In these situations, only a strict adherence to the proper health and safety procedures can prevent accidents.

As an employer, you should equip the workplace with the right kinds of tools and machinery for the job. The staff should follow the right procedures regarding health and safety. Make sure that they know the right posture for lifting heavy weights safely ï¿¼to avoid back injuries. The working environment should also be tidy and free of wet ï¿¼and slippery surfaces at all times to prevent unnecessary risks.

There really is no excuse for employers who do not protect their employees sufficiently when working with dangerous parts of machinery. The entire industry is in full knowledge of the requirement for guarding. At Polestar, the guarding standards were well below the acceptable standard. Had they had proper risk assessment and safe system implementation procedures for isolation and lock-off of the machinery, the injury could have been prevented.

The Place of Professional Advice

There are people with special training on workplace risk assessment and the implementation of the appropriate safety system measures. Bring these people on board; they will make sure that all machinery used by your employees is up to standards and there are procedures in place for handling it. Speak to professional health and safety consultants on 0800 1488 677 for expert advice. Prevention is better than cure.

About 

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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