28th of April is an annual day of remembrance for workers who have died, been injured or made unwell by their work. Worker’s Memorial Day provides employers with the perfect opportunity to revisit workplace safety procedures and help prevent avoidable accidents.
The origin of Worker’s Memorial Day dates back to the USA in 1970 when The AFL-CIO declared April 28th as a day to remember those who have died whilst working.
Key safety statistics
Statistics by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) states that, over 500 employees suffered a fatal accident whilst working between 2008 and 2017 in Ireland. Meanwhile in the UK, over 130 workers died in 2016/17 alone and there were over 70,000 cases of serious workplace injuries, according to a recent report released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Ensuring a safe workplace can also be beneficial for an organisation as stated by George Brechin (HSE’s interim chair) in 2016: “Getting health and safety right not only protects workers and the public, it can help support productivity, innovation and growth”.
What can be done to improve workplace safety?
There are simple steps any organisation can take to ensure better staff safety. We’ve highlighted the key ones:
1. Conduct a Risk Assessment.
Employers should always have robust risk assessments to identify hazards and risks associated with each role. This will prevent some of the most avoidable accidents such as trips, slips or falls.
2. Provide staff training.
With appropriate training, staff will be able to understand the risks they could face whilst working. It’s also important to supervise your employees to ensure that they are using their training correctly and safely.
3. Investigate accidents at work.
All accidents suffered by employees at work should always be investigated no matter how minor the incident is. This will help identify the cause behind the accident and help ensure that it doesn’t reoccur.
4. Ensure the appropriate use of equipment/machinery.
Depending on the nature of the business, employers should ensure all equipment or machinery used by the employees is fit for purpose and well maintained.
5. Encourage employee feedback.
It’s important to listen to employee concerns regarding safety at work. They are more likely to identify certain risks that could affect their health or well-being. Staff should also be encouraged to speak up, thus ensuring a proactive approach to safety at work.
We hope that this Workers Memorial Day raises the importance of employee safety and organisations work towards preventing some of the most common workplace accidents.