Accident at work

How to avoid accidents at work: A basic guide for employers

Any Health and Safety officer will tell you that the best way to reduce accidents in the workplace is to take a proactive stance of prevention. Accidents at work can be easily prevented, but it is mandatory that you consistently communicate your expectations to your employees on a regular basis to help implement these prevention methods.

Each industry has its own individual safety requirements and guidelines which employers must adhere to. Often, however, within these rules and regulation, the element of human error can be overlooked which is why most workplace accidents occur. It is therefore your responsibility as an employer to ensure the most basic safety needs of employees are met. Here we will guide you through some of the basic and preventative ways in which employers can avoid accidents within the workplace.


The first step to prevention to put formal health and safety policies and procedures in place that clearly states to everyone on the premises steps that must be taken in order to prevent accidents. The next step is to put someone in charge of these safety measures and regularly meet with them to discuss how to coordinate these plans. This person must be fully aware of the responsibilities that come with this position and be willing to cooperate in discussing safety concerns and how they can be addressed to prevent further accidents.

Once these plans have been discussed it is your job as an employer to voice any concerns with employees, letting them know the importance of safety on the premises. This can be done verbally through your safety manager or voiced through the information shown throughout the premises.


The correct training not only ensures that your employees are able and qualified to carry out their work, it also ensures that they understand the importance of the safety surrounding each task. You will often find that most accidents occur as a direct result of shortcuts being taken- something that is less likely to occur with regular training. The knowledge that trying to complete a task in a hurry or becoming over-familiar with the job can lead to injuries is key to avoiding accidents.


The cleanliness of a workplace is more than simply aesthetics. Unbeknown to most, a clean space whether it be in an office, an industrial space or otherwise can act as a deterrent to work accidents. Unclean and cluttered workspaces are increasingly prone to hazards and therefore ensuring employees maintain a strict level of hygiene and organisation is key. Whether it be within an office environment or an industrial space, keeping the spaces clear and clean apply across all industries.

Protective Equipment

Protection equipment for each employee is essential and employees should be reminded of this upon hiring, at meetings and at random intervals to fully express the potential consequences of not doing so. Ensure that each employee is fully aware of how to use equipment particularly when working in an industrial environment where there are many hazardous machines and tools.

Educate & Communicate

Regardless of how much time and effort you put into ensuring your workplace is safe, human error is often the cause of the majority of accidents. It is therefore important that you take it upon yourself to effectively communicate with your employees what it expected of them and what is required to maintain safety standards for themselves and others. The more employees understand the gravity and importance of doing so, the less likely it is that accidents will occur.

However, it is not only good enough to verbalise your concerns for safety, but you must also be willing to act if necessary. If a safety hazard is identified it is paramount to address this situation immediately in order to correct it. You cannot simply assume that your regular verbalising of the importance of safety will prompt someone to rectify this safety hazard, you must act yourself as otherwise it’s an accident just waiting to happen.


As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure any area with potential hazards is clearly marked with the appropriate signage. Many industries, most commonly industrial and commercial require these signs by law to inform employees of potential risks and how to avoid accidents. However, even small businesses can benefit from these invaluable counter measures to protect the business and your employees.

Finally you can further involve your employees by asking them whether they have any suggestions about improving workplace safety or any concerns about current safety hazards. As much as having one safety coordinator is helpful in maintaining safety standards, utilising a handful of eyes and ears will always be the better option.

Undoubtedly, the most effective way to reduce accidents in the workplace is to take a clear and proactive position on prevention. Accidents can often be prevented with common sense, but it ultimately falls to you as an employer to ensure that these ‘common sense’ measures are adhered to whether that be in regard to training, cleaning communication etc.

Whistle blowers

What You Need to Know About Whistleblowing in the Workplace

The UK Government defines a whistleblower as a someone who discloses wrongdoing in the public interest.

This is often, but not always in a workplace setting. For the wrongdoing to be in the public interest it must have an impact on others, such as the general public.

Whistleblowing can be challenging for the whistleblower, partly because it may mean they must question their own ethical considerations; but also because in response, they may find their personal and professional credibility under attack.

There have been notable cases of whistleblowing in the NHS and government agencies, but in reality, it can be something that occurs in any workplace, depending on the circumstances individuals find themselves in.

Whistleblowers can be employees in public or private service, trainees, agency workers or members of a limited liability partnership.

Here we look at what protection whistleblowers have under the law.

What Are Whistleblowing Complaints?

Typically, a whistleblowing complaint will be when you report a criminal offence in the workplace, such as fraud; or if a company is breaking the law in some way.

It can also be about workplace situations where someone’s health and safety is at risk; or there is a risk to the environment.

Whistleblowing also applies to miscarriages of justice in the workplace; or where you think someone is deliberately covering up something they have done.

It is important that the complaint is a whistleblowing complaint if you are going to be protected legally as a whistleblower.

Some complaints are not counted as whistleblowing. These include personal grievances such as bullying, harassment or discrimination. Instead, you would need to pursue these sorts of complaints under your employer’s grievance policy.

How Does Protection for Whistleblowers Apply?

For protection to apply to you as a whistleblower, you must make your complaint to the right person in the right way.

If your employer has whistleblowing policy, there may be procedure to follow. Or you might make the disclosure to your employer directly, or to a person in your organisation responsible for the area of concern you are raising.

This could be a health and safety representative, for instance.

Depending on your place of employment and your complaint, you might make your disclosure to a prescribed person or body.

You might also first seek legal advice before making your disclosure. If you are taking legal advice, you can then disclose the wrongdoing to your legal adviser.

You can make a whistleblowing complaint anonymously, but if the person you make it to feels they do not have enough information, they may not be able to take it further.

You can, however, request confidentiality after making the complaint, making it clear you do not want anyone else to know you have raised this concern.

You do not have any say in how your whistleblowing concern is dealt with, nor does the person or body you have told necessarily have to keep you informed of the progress of your complaint.

Your Treatment as a Whistleblower

You should have protection under the law as a whistleblower, but if you feel you are then unfairly treated, such as being dismissed, you can take it to an employment tribunal.

If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed, you must raise any claim related to it within three months of ending your employment. Also, if you did raise your original whistleblowing concern anonymously, if may be difficult to prove that your dismissal is related to it.

There is further information about unfair dismissal from Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. If you want to take your case to an employment tribunal, you must notify Acas.

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