Which industries are home to the most accidents at work in Scotland?
“We may be small, but we’ve always held our own on the international stage” – and with our world-renowned architecture, breathtaking scenery and infamous exports, we would have to agree with this description of our magnificent country. But do we ever stop to think about the people behind Scotland’s global image, the ones who maintain our landscape and work in all weather to bring our fantastic produce to the world’s dining tables? And the one’s who may be most at risk of accidents at work in Scotland?
People working in the construction, agriculture and manufacturing industries are those who help to keep Scotland looking and producing its best, but did you know that these three industries are where most accidents at work in Scotland happen? In fact, according to data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), these three industries rank the highest for work-related fatalities in the UK. In 2021/2022, 30 individuals lost their lives in the construction industry in the UK, with 22 people sustaining fatal injuries working in manufacturing, and 22 who worked in agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Watermans Personal Injury team delves into why this is the case, exploring the challenges and hazards faced by those at work in these industries in Scotland.
Accident at Work Scotland: What are common hazards of working on a construction site?
Falling from a height
Working on a construction site can often involve needing to work at a height. To gain access to do your job, you may need to work up a ladder, on scaffolding or on a scissor lift. Unfortunately, falling from a height is one of the most common causes of fatal injury on construction sites, with 29 fatal accidents at work caused by a fall from a height reported in the UK in 2021/2022. Therefore, risk assessments need to be carried out and the necessary actions implemented to prevent the chance of this happening in the future. When working from a height, it’s important that the task is adequately planned and supervised, to reduce the risk of falling. For all those working from height, safety procedures should be followed to keep the workplace safe for everyone. Importantly, only those who are correctly trained in working from a height should do so.
Employees on construction sites are often at risk of being electrocuted. Using defective work tools, improper handling of exposed wires and hitting overhead power lines are all causes of electrocution onsite. Necessary precautions need to be taken on a construction site to prevent the chances of employees being electrocuted at work, which can cause burns and other serious injuries. Correct and adequate planning of tasks onsite can help to reduce the chances of an accident occurring, by conducting risk assessments prior to starting the work.
What are common hazards of working on a farm?
Working with animals
Scotland is famed for its beef, lamb and haggis products, as well as its cheeses and homemade dairy ice cream. To produce these ingredients, farm workers must work with livestock. Animals are unpredictable creatures, and the chance of an accident at work in Scotland happening on the farm is heightened when working with and around livestock. By having the correct safety procedures in place, risk of injury caused by livestock can be greatly reduced. Ensure all gates, fences and handling equipment are fit for purpose, and that all farm employees are aware of safe animal handling practices. Farms can be busy work environments, so make sure that any bystanders are kept separate from the animals to avoid injury. Lastly, always keep a safe distance from the animals you are working with. If you are working with cattle or horses, give yourself plenty of space so that you aren’t in kicking range.
Working with heavy machinery
Harvesting the grains used to make Scotland’s famous whisky and gin, as well as all the other crops that make up Scotland’s larder, require the use of heavy machinery. Working with machinery on the farm offers its own inherent risks. Fast-moving vehicles and heavy-duty machinery need to be operated by fully trained, competent staff to avoid the risk of an accident at work. All machinery must be correctly switched off when not in use, and wheels and brakes checked before starting work for the day. Implementation of regular safety checks can help in detecting any defects in the machinery and prevent serious or fatal injury to employees.
What are common hazards of working in a factory?
Working with forklift trucks
The use of forklift trucks in the manufacturing industry helps to improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Employees can use forklift trucks to move heavy loads around the factory, reducing the chances of a manual handling injury. However, those operating these trucks must be certified and trained in using them to avoid the unfortunate event of an accident at work taking place. Having special areas for forklifts within the factory or warehouse can help to reduce collisions with pedestrians. Those operating the trucks must also adhere to the safety protocols associated with the size and shape of the loads being moved, making sure they are secure at all times and not excessive or imbalanced in weight. It is the responsibility of the forklift truck operators and the ground workers to comply with all health and safety rules, to encourage a safer workspace for all.
Slips and trips
Working in a factory means working with heavy machinery, moving vehicles, chemicals and manufacturing parts. With all of this in mind, it’s not surprising that the chances of falling and injuring yourself in the workplace are heightened. Split liquids or unclear walkways and access routes can increase the risk of a slip or trip on the factory floor. Injuries sustained from falls like these can range from minor bruising to broken bones, and so every effort must be taken by both supervisors and employees to reduce the chance of an accident happening. Any spillages must be clearly marked with warning signs before being thoroughly cleaned up and dried. Similarly, walkways must be kept clear of machine parts and manufactured products to ensure safe movement around the factory floor.
How do I start my accident at work compensation claim?
Being injured in a workplace accident that wasn’t your fault can cause pain and suffering for you and your loved ones. You may find you have to take time off from work to recover, resulting in a loss of income for your household, too. At Watermans, our team of experienced personal injury solicitors are experts in handling accident at work injury claims in Scotland. We handle all aspects of your claim, so that you can concentrate on your recovery.
Speak with our accident at work Scotland solicitors today by filling out the form below, or by calling us on 0131 555 7055.