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How The Workplace Can Be Safer

Accidents at work are more commonplace than people think. The busy world of work can often mean unintentional negligence in addressing a vital issue and ensuring that workers have the comfort and freedom to do what they are paid to do in a safe and secure environment.
In the UK, we are addressing the issue slowly and to this end the overall number of accidents and fatalities at work has steadily decreased but there still is work to do.
Many small to medium enterprises still do not properly comply with workplace health and safety regulations, many of them failing to understand the gravity of the risks they are taking.
For example, slips and falls are increasingly the most common way that people get injured at the workplace and it is usually when entering or leaving the premises. Employees should be encouraged to make it known that it is everyone's responsibility for safety in the workplace. Employers should, of course, lead by example.
Employers must make every effort to avoid accidents in the workplace, but if they do occur, they must have arrangements in place to deal with them, and to identify the causes. To that end they might have an accident book or recording system which records any incident which requires first aid or results in the inability of an employee to continue to work. This then helps employees to identify hazardous points and help prevent the recurrence of similar accidents.
With no limit to fines, and companies facing going out of business if a conviction is publicised, organisations much ensure their health and safety procedures are sound. Only last year the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that 'minor' accidents (slips, trips and falls) cost employers over £512 million a year in lost production and other costs.
For companies that deal with chemicals or pharmaceuticals, for instance, Health exams should always be conducted on a regular basis for those who handle chemical substances. This could be followed by a one-on-one consultation with an industry doctor for health guidance and advice.
There is hope for the immediate future in that the European Campaign for Safety and Health at Work, previously known as Euroweek, will be launching a two year campaign focusing on workplace risk assessments.
European week itself on 20-24 October 2008 will see many events throughout the UK, with the official UK launch being held in London on the 24th June 2008 being aimed at employers, workers, safety representatives and other stakeholders.
One of the features of the campaign is to identify what may cause workplace accidents, if any hazards that could cause accidents can be removed, any preventative measures that should be put into place, any protective equipment or clothing that should be worn, and whether adequate training has been provided.
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