One in 10 gets injured at work

2006

One in 10 British workers has sustained some sort of injury at work over the past five years, according to a new study.

The research by insurer AXA has also discovered that while eight out of 10 injuries are caused by work-related accidents such as tripping over or using machinery, eight per cent are caused by physical assault, either by a customer or colleague.

Surprisingly, the highest levels of physical assault were found in the professional services, including lawyers, consultants and accountants, with as many as 15 per cent of employees working in those sectors being assaulted by a customer.

Another intriguing finding was that employees who worked for large companies (250 people or more) were almost twice as likely to suffer an injury while working, compared with those employed by small and medium-sized companies (10 to 250 employees).

Like SMEs, micro businesses (one to nine employees) had a better record for workplace accidents and injuries when compared with large companies – 17 per cent compared with 47 per cent in larger companies.

Workplace accidents accounted for the most injuries at work and one third of all injuries were the result of falls or trips.

Strains and sprains were the most common result of an accident – 34 per cent of workplace accidents resulted in these types of injuries.

The study also found employees aged over 50 were most likely to have a fall while doing their job (47 per cent) compared with 28 per cent of 18-29 year olds.

Nearly one in ten of those injured UK employees complained of repetitive strain inquiry or other injuries caused by the working environment.

Douglas Barnett, risk control strategy manager at AXA, said: "These findings should make worrying reading for the business community.

"Accidents and injuries sustained in the workplace can be extremely costly for companies – through employees having to take time off work to recover or because of compensation pay outs.

"In light of this, we are advising businesses, of all shapes and sizes, to assess the potential risks and dangers that the working environment may pose to their employees and ensure that they have stringent health and safety procedures in place," he added.

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