So how can employers across all industries protect their workers from these risks?
While organisations should always carry out their own risk assessments, so they can tailor their health and safety policies and processes to the unique risks their workers face, there are some illnesses and injuries that every business should be working to prevent. The actions they will need to take to avoid these ailments may differ according to their working environment, but if all organisations focus on these issues then we could see them becoming less common than they are today.
Here are some of the biggest health and safety issues facing workers across industries:
Work-related stress, depression and anxiety is one of the biggest health risks to workers across all industries – in 2017/18, these mental health issues accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health, and 57% of all working days lost to ill health. There are higher than average rates of stress, depression or anxiety among those working in education, health and social work and public admin/defence.However, the underlying issues that cause workers to feel stressed, anxious or depressed can occur in any industry.
An unmanageable workload emerged as the most common cause of these illnesses, and it’s important for employers to address this issue. Ensure that your workers feel able to approach their managers with any concerns they may have – about their workload or any other aspects of their role – and feel confident that they will be taken seriously.
When it comes to injuries, the most common risks to workers are slips, trips and falls, which can happen to any worker – whether they’re walking through an office or a construction site. While you will never be able to prevent your workers from slipping at all, there are some easy ways to remove fall hazards wherever you work.
Every workplace is different, even those within the same industry, so walk through your site and look for any slip or trip risks that your employees face while they’re doing their job. If you’re operating within an office environment, for example, you may need to remove cables or cords from walkways, whereas on a construction site, you might want to implement a structured process for keeping on top of debris.
If you’re not working in an industry that involves physical labour, you may not think that your workers are at risk of musculoskeletal disorders, but these disorders can affect workers in any industry. While the agriculture, forestry and fishing and construction industries have the highest rates of musculoskeletal issues, those working in public admin and defence and health and social work are also at a higher than average risk of these disorders.
There are such a wide range of health issues that fall under the ‘musculoskeletal’ label, and an equally broad range of causes that can trigger them – from carrying out repetitive work to lifting heavy objects in the wrong way. That’s why regular and robust training is so necessary, as by educating workers in best practice for preventing these issues, they can protect themselves while they’re working.
It’s not just your own employees that you need to protect from these common health and safety risks – when your suppliers are on site, you must ensure that they are working to your high standards of health and safety too.
Altius has years of experience in helping businesses across sectors, from M&S to Travelodge, to reduce risk throughout their supply chain. Our software and services enable clients to manage health and safety across their supply chain and collaborate with their suppliers in real-time – to find out more, visit our web page.