How to avoid factory accidents

The works accident book is recommended by the Health and Safety Executive and various Manufacturing trade bodies’ advice on health and safety as a good place to start when seeking to avoid factory accidents. We are of course presuming that the factory owner/employer is already complying with all the pertinent health and safety legislation applicable to the health, safety and welfare of their employers at work and the safety of the workplace itself.

The contents of the accident book will provide a reliable heads up on any historical and current trends in types of accidents, enabling the employer to identify areas of risk control that need re-visiting. For instance, an upsurge in slipping accidents might point to the fact that shop floor’s none slip surface is wearing out and requires refurbishing or a constant high number of back injuries due to lifting or carrying indicating that the frequency of manual handling training refresher courses needs increasing or more mechanical handling devices need to be integrated into certain processes.

Another source of information that can help to avoid factory accidents comes from the employees themselves. They also have health and safety duties which should be explained to them when they are initially employed. They are:

• To carry out their work in the way they have been trained to do and to follow instructions.

• Report any dangerous situations they encounter.

• Refrain from behaviour or activity that would endanger themselves or others.

Employees also have the right to refuse to undertake work that they perceive to be dangerous and that has insufficient risk controls in place. However it is the employees’ duty to report dangerous situations they encounter that can make the long term difference as to whether a workplace is reactive or proactive in the way it deals with the control of risks. ‘Good’ employers will also empower employees, within the bounds of their competencies, to take a ‘see it, sort it’ attitude to health and safety.

For instance in the case of an artificially lit corridor, where a couple of light bulbs have failed, making a section hazardously dark, the ‘see it, sort it’ empowered employee will take it upon herself, if she can safely do so, to replace the bulbs, rather than report the situation to a central facilities department who might not be able to act on the report quickly enough to prevent another employee tripping over an unseen obstacle in the darkened corridor.

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