I work from home primarily so have pretty much complete control over my working environment. Health hazards might be trying not to stumble over the boys’ toys on my way to my laptop or avoiding tripping over the dog who likes getting under my feet! That’s about as dangerous as it gets, so I am quite fortunate really – although when I have stood on a LEGO brick barefooted I don’t feel quite so lucky!
But in all seriousness not everyone feels protected at work. Sadly research by Hayward Baker found that as much as 69 percent of British workers think their workplace is hazardous to their health. That’s quite a worrying statistic given how long people spend at work. They need to feel safe and secure, not panicking about accidents that may or may not happen. Although with 20% actually ending up in hospital because of a workplace injury or illness you can suddenly understand their concern and quickly sympathise with them.
I did have an issue in a previous job in a solicitor’s office when I was pregnant and being made to lift heavy boxes of files. I actually resigned, as I was worried for the well being of my unborn child. I started having nosebleeds and coming over faint, I didn’t feel they saw my reservations as a priority as they made no effort to change how I could do my job.
My husband is a manager and health and safety is one aspect of his job. He does seem genuinely concerned in the health of his staff. He told me he does do regular risk assessments on things like staff welfare (making sure they have a comfortable seat and do not get repetitive strain from using a computer for any length of time), checking for trip hazards and fire alarm testing (and having an evacuation procedure in place). He also hires a cleaner so hopefully doesn’t have the issues with unsanitary facilities that led to 18% of those surveyed (see the infographic below) having a stomach bug whilst in the office.
If you have had an accident at work its worth using an injury compensation calculator to see what you would be entitled too, especially with the average claim being £24,931. If more people went down that route then hopefully more workplaces would take health and safety seriously. It’s vital that standards don’t slip; the last thing you want to do is endanger the health of one of your company’s key assets – your employees. Give them adequate training and development so they can do their job safely, especially if they are using dangerous machinery, manage risks and try and make the workplace as secure as possible.