Workplace Incidents in Ireland: A Guide for Small Businesses

Do you run a small business? If so, you should take the same workplace accident precautions as larger businesses do. While there are typically more risks at a large work site, incidents can happen in smaller workplace environments too. The most important thing is for your business to adhere to regulatory restrictions, but you should also do your diligence with workplace assessments and other risk safety guidelines. Should an accident occur at your business, you should investigate what happened to determine how to prevent it in the future. Below are some guidelines for your business to avoid workplace incidents and deal with them should they occur.

Workplace Incidents in Ireland: A Guide for Small Businesses

Risk Assessments

According to McGinley Solicitors, a law firm who routinely handles claims for an accident at work, perhaps the most important way to avoid accidents at the workplace is to do your due diligence with risk assessments. Business owners are typically required to perform a risk assessment that identifies potential hazards within the workplace. Risks associated with each hazard should be determined and analyzed accordingly. The results of this assessment should be included in a Safety Statement.

A Safety Statement is a document that contain policies that are specific to your business. This reports procedures and responsibilities of both employers and employees. The responsibilities of your employees include adhering to your business’s health and the Safety Statement created from the risk assessment. Employees have specific responsibilities to adhere to business regulations. It is also pivotal for them to also acknowledge the bullying and harassment policies.

Types of Accidents

The most common non-fatal injuries in the workplace come from manual labor. Nearly one-third of all injuries are from manual handling. The next most common injuries are the ones that result from slips, trips, falls, and other accidents. These account for 18 percent of all workplace accidents. Machine malfunctions always play a role in injuries in the workplace. There are actually so many ways employees can get injured at work. It is very important to identify the risks and with that knowledge you can prevent accidents that could occur.

The Costs of Accidents

The expense of workplace accidents vary quite a bit. If employees are injured, the costs to you can be quite high. 830 workplace claims were filed in 2011, which totaled €22.5 million according to figures from the Injuries Board. While small businesses face a different set of issues and challenges compared to their larger counterparts, whether you are small or large, accidents can cost a lot of money. That’s why you should do all you can do to prevent injuries.

Preventing Accidents

While workplace assessments and due diligence will help you prevent injuries, there is also a free online tool provided by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA). BeSMART is a free service that facilitates small businesses in preparing both the risk assessment and a Safety Statement. This can be designed specifically to the workplace. BeSMART reduces the likelihood of all incidents. It can also reduce absenteeism, costs, and administrative obstacles. Currently 16,000 businesses are registered. They claim that users indicate a reduction of 86 percent in cost and 71 percent in time involved to undertake risk assessments. This also includes the preparation of a safety statement for the business.

Investigating Accidents

When an accident has occurred at your workplace, it is important to fully investigate the accident. This includes figuring out what occurred just before the incident. Once you have determined what happened prior, you should lay out the sequence of events. You should ask, what happened this time that doesn’t usually happen? What was the difference? With that information, you can determine what risks are usually taken and if the system itself is flawed.

There are three classification errors. First there are omissions, which means that something necessary was left out. A commission is when something was done incorrectly or within the wrong context. Finally, extraneous activity—doing something extra within a task—is the third error.

The injured have rights. It’s important to do your own investigation, gather necessary documents, and receive any necessary medical attention. Then you should consult a professional solicitor like McGinley, who can help you put together a claim application to send to the Injuries Board. Whether the accident happened at a small or large business, the employer needs to take in risk assessment and safety statements while the employee follows rules, regulations, and does their part to investigate the incident.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that win. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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