80,000 people in the UK pose a sexual threat to children online

In the last five years the number of child abuse images referred to the agency have surged 700% according to new statistics. During 2017-18, the National Crime Agency safeguarded 2,037 children.

The National Crime Agency also revealed on average at the end of 2017, there were 438 arrests made and 596 children safeguarded each month.

The National Crime Agency has released data stating that at least 80,000 people in the UK are believed to pose a sexual threat to children online.

In the last five years the number of child abuse images referred to the agency have surged 700% according to new statistics. During 2017-18, the National Crime Agency safeguarded 2,037 children.

The National Crime Agency also revealed on average at the end of 2017, there were 438 arrests made and 596 children safeguarded each month.

Sajid Javid the home secretary said he would make it his “personal mission” to tackle child abuse and described his shock at the scale of the problem.

The Home Office has also warned that live-streaming of abuse is a growing problem due to faster internet speeds, smartphone technology and the ease of transferring money across borders online.

It’s also reported that images are getting more graphic, with abuse of babies and children under 10 more regularly documented.

Figures also indicate that police in England and Wales recorded around 23 online child sexual offences every day in 2017-18 up from 15 a day in the previous 12 months.

Simon Bailey, the national policing lead for child protection, has called for the internet giants such as Google and Facebook to do more to stop the spread of sexual abuse images and videos.

There have been repeated calls for offenders who download indecent images of children to get tougher sentences, something most people in the UK agree with.

The government has invested £600,000 in a project that trawls the web to identify pages with suspected abuse content, a move supported by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which assesses and removes online child abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves, chief executive of the IWF, said: “Sadly, our most recent annual report showed that the severity of the images we identified were and it appeared that offenders were becoming more sophisticated in their crime.”

Javed Khan, chief executive of children’s charity Bernardo’s, said: “We welcome Sajid Javid’s commitment to ramp up the government’s efforts to tackle online child sexual abuse.

“The government must now deliver its promise to make the UK the safest place to be online by forcing online companies to ensure effective safeguards are in place to help better protect children.

“Any delay to acting now could put a generation of children in danger online.”

7 Simple ways to avoid falls when working at height

Do as much work as possible from the ground. If a task can be completed from the ground there’s no need to put yourself and others in danger by instead carrying out the job from a height. This can include preparing materials at ground level prior to completing the work giving you less to do while at a height.

Ensure you can get safely to and from where you’re working at height. Employees should have easy and safe access to the area you need to carry out work on. This could include scaffolding and working platforms, not just a ladder on an uneven surface.

Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly. You should be able to rely on the equipment you use to assist you and keep you safe, not add to the risk of injury. Faulty equipment could cause more serious injuries to occur especially when working at height.

Make sure you don’t overload or overreach while working at height. Stretching to reach objects and carrying too much can often cause you to lose your balance which could lead to you falling of the working area. Make several journeys carrying less or reposition yourself closer to the object when trying to reach it.

Take extra precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces. Fragile surfaces such as glass and rusted sheet metal are often not strong enough to support the weight of a worker and can collapse without warning. These surfaces may not always be obvious to see so a full inspection should be carried out to ensure all weak spots are identified.

Ensure you’re protected from falling objects. While working at height you may also have colleagues working above you, you should ensure there is suitable protection from any falling objects coming from above. This can include safety netting and personal protective equipment such as hard hats.

Consider your emergency evacuation and rescue procedures before you start the task in hand. You should have an emergency plan that comes into action should an accident occur while working at height. This should detail how injured workers are cared for in the immediate aftermath of an accident. This could be the difference between life and death.

Compensation Calculator

To tell you how much compensation you could receive we first need to find out a little bit about the injuries you suffered. Fill out the form below and we will send you over our estimate of how much you could be entitled too.

    What Injuries Have You Suffered?

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    Injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault?

    Matthew Waterfield

    We are Injury Lawyers UK, we are here to help you get the support, treatment and compensation you deserve following an accident. Like many in our team our Senior Partner Matthew Waterfield has been dealing with personal injury claims for over twenty years.


    Being involved in an accident can be a very traumatic experience for not only you but your loved ones also. This trauma can me increased massively if the accident wasn’t your fault and you’ve had to take time off work due to your injuries.

    If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault we can help you make a full and fast recovery and get the compensation you deserve.

    Been involved in a accident that wasn’t your fault?

    If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident we can help you get the support rehabilitation and compensation you deserve.

    The injuries sustained in the accident can often lead to you having to take unpaid time off work which can lead to money worries, something that no one should have to deal with on top of their injuries. We can successfully recover the wages that you have lost due to taking time off work, giving you one less thing to worry about.

    Injury Lawyers UK have a team of specialist solicitors that can help make the process of making a claim stress free and efficient. We’ve helped thousands of people get back to normal life after their accident and can help you too.

    How much compensation could you receive?

    All accident claims are different and there is no way of accurately predicting how much your case could be worth until we find out more details about the case. But our solicitors will always make sure they take every possible cost into account when negotiating your claim. Some of these include:

    • Loss of earnings from time off work
    • Future loss of earnings due to halted career progression
    • The care you’ve already received
    • The care you may need in the future
    • Adaptations that may need to be made to your property or vehicle
    • Travel expenses
    • Treatment and rehabilitation costs

    As well as many other expenses that can be claimed back. We deal with nearly all accident claims on a no win no fee basis, so you don’t need to worry about being left out of pocket. If you want to find out more about what your claim could be worth speak to a solicitor now by calling 0800 1123 156.

    How long do you have to make a claim?

    Standard procedure limits you to three years after the date of the accident or diagnosis to start a claim for compensation. This limit is in place to ensure that its clear to see what injures you sustained due to the accident.

    If you’re approaching the time limit you should not delay in getting in touch, the claims process can take a while to get started so its vital you act quickly to ensure your claim can be successful.

    There are a few exceptions to the three year limit which are:

    • Psychological trauma – if the accident caused a serious brain injury and is a loved one if making a claim on their behalf, then there is no time limit for making a compensation claim.
    • Manufacturing or design fault – If the equipment you were using had a fundamental defect, the time limit may be increased.
    • Overseas work accidents – Accidents that take place overseas may result in the time limit for making a claim being shorter depending on the circumstances.

    How does a no win no fee agreement work?

    You’ve probably heard the phrase no win no fee used before, they’re also known as conditional fee agreements. They are simple, you won’t have to pay a penny win or lose.

    We understand all of this might make you worried about incurring hidden costs. We assure you there are none, we instead secure our payment from your opponents insurers when we are successful with your claim.

    In the unlikely event that we lose your no win no fee personal injury claim we promise we will still not charge you a penny. We have insurance policies that cover us in those circumstance. We don’t like to be negative at Injury Lawyers UK but its important you have a full understanding of how a no win no fee agreement works.

    • Read how we helped John after his life changing accident at work
    • I’d been a scaffolder for all my life, I enjoyed the work and working outside as part of a team. This was until I had a nasty fall from scaffolding three stories up. I landed feet first causing serious injuries to my left ankle and leg.

      When the accident occurred I had been under a lot of pressure to get a job finished on time and had been working double shifts to ensure this was possible. This had been normal practice at the company I worked for. I feel like the accident wouldn’t have happened if I was not under such extreme pressure and working long hours.

      I was unable to work for more than a year while I recovered and had several major operations on my ankle, at one point there was a high chance of me losing it all together. I can now walk with a stick with a slight limp, better than I had feared would be possible.

      Throughout this time I was supported by Injury Lawyers UK, they helped me receive the first class medical treatment I needed. They fought tirelessly to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible to ensure I wasn’t left with money worries in the future as I’ll never be able to work as a scaffolder again.

      They had quickly managed to secure an interim payment from my employer to ensure I could make ends meet before the final settlement was paid.

      Everyone who I dealt with at Injury lawyers UK was very friendly and helpful, my file handler and the senior partner visited me at my home several times to discuss the case and see how I was recovering. They took all the stress out of the claims process which helped me focus on my recovery.

      Injury Lawyers UK secured me £400,000 of compensation for my injury, this has enabled me to pay off my mortgage and reimbursed the money I have lost out on due to my injuries. I may never be able to continue in my dream job anymore but they have helped me look forward to my future.

    What makes a claim successful?

    For a claim to be successful we will need to establish which party was responsible for the accident occurring. This could be the local authority or the land owner if you suffered an injury in a slip or trip, the driver of a vehicle if you was involved in a road traffic accident, or it could be your employer if you was injured in an accident at work.

    Ask yourself the following questions and if you answer any of them with a yes, its likely you’ve suffered an injury that could be worthy of a compensation claim.

    • Are you seeing a doctor or receiving medical treatment for an injury sustained in the accident?
    • Have you been making repeat hospital visits to treat the injury?
    • Have you taken time off work to recover from the injury?
    • Have your injuries stopped you from returning to work in the same role or working the same hours?

    Talk to one of our solicitors to find out if you have the ingredients to make a successful claim for compensation by calling 0800 1123 156 or complete an online enquiry form.

    Construction Site Accidents

    During 2017/18 38 construction workers lost their lives in the workplace. Thankfully this is slightly lower than the annual average between 2013/14 and 2017/18 which shows that more is being done to protect workers. The fatal injury rate in terms of number of fatalities per 100,000 workers employed in the construction industry is 1.64, which seems relatively low but is still around 4 times higher than the annual average of 0.45 across all industries.

    Workers in the construction industry suffer the most injuries and fatal injuries in the UK. Construction sites are typically full of hazards whether it be the heavy machinery, heavy materials or plant equipment they can all cause serious injuries to workers.

    All employers have a legal obligation to protect their employees from harm while in the workplace. Sometimes the suitable health and safety procedures are not put in place or are not suitable for the task. This can lead to serious injuries or even fatal accidents.

    Construction site injuries in the UK

    During 2017/18 38 construction workers lost their lives in the workplace. Thankfully this is slightly lower than the annual average between 2013/14 and 2017/18 which shows that more is being done to protect workers. The fatal injury rate in terms of number of fatalities per 100,000 workers employed in the construction industry is 1.64, which seems relatively low but is still around 4 times higher than the annual average of 0.45 across all industries.

    Between 2015/16 and 2017/18 an average of 58,000 workers in the construction industry suffered non-fatal injuries. Of these 58,000 injuries 24% were due to slips, trips or falls on the same level, 21% were injured while handling, lifting or carrying, 19% were injured due to a fall from height and 12% were struck by moving, including flying/falling, objects.

    How can workers protect themselves?

    Workers should actively try and protect themselves from injury by ensuring they only carry out construction work they have the relevant skills, knowledge, training and experience in. The should also make themselves aware of the health and safety risks involved in working on a construction site and learn how to minimise the risks to themselves.

    How can employers protect their employees?

    Employers should do all they can to ensure the workers they employ are safe at all times while working. They should do this by:

    Providing suitable Personal Protective Equipment

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is designed to enable workers to complete their jobs safely, it includes hard hats, safety footwear and high visibility jackets. This equipment should be mandatory for all workers and visitors present on construction sites.

    Ensure a safe site

    Construction sites should be kept in a clean and orderly condition, they should be robustly planned to ensure they have been organised in the safest way possible. Clear routes should be laid out for traffic and the same for pedestrians to ensure the two don’t come into contact.

    Conduct risk assessments

    Risk assessments should be carried out on a regular basis on construction sites as the environment is always changing as work progresses. These assessments should identify the potential risks to employees and eliminate them if possible.

    Provide appropriate training

    Employees should be kept up to date with all the latest training available, this will help them minimise the risk of suffering an injury. Only workers who have received specialist training should be allowed to complete certain tasks such as operating vehicles.

    What is hand-arm vibration?

    What’s hand-arm vibration?

    Hand-arm vibration is vibration transmitted into your hands and arms when you use power tools, it can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) affects the nerves, blood vessels, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm. It can become severely disabling if ignored, vibration white finger is classed as HAVS which can cause severe pain in the affected finger/s.

    Carpel tunnel syndrome is a nerve disorder which may involve pain, tingling and numbness and weakness in parts of the hand and can be caused by, among other things, exposure to vibration.

    What is personal protective equipment?

    All employers have a legal obligation to protect their employers from hand-arm vibration syndrome and carpel tunnel syndrome. If you feel like a task or job you’re carrying out is putting you more at risk of suffering then you should ask your employer if the job can be done a different way. If this is not possible you should:

    • Ask to use suitable low vibration tools
    • Always use the right tool for each job (to do the job quicker and expose you to less hand-arm vibration)
    • Check tools before using them to make sure they have been properly maintained and repaired to avoid increased vibration caused by faults or general wear
    • Make sure cutting tools are kept sharp so that they remain efficient
    • Reduce the amount of time you use a tool in one go, by doing other jobs in between
    • Avoid gripping or forcing a tool or a work piece more than you have to/li>
    • Store tools so that they do not have very cold handles when next used
    • Encourage good blood circulation by:
      • Keeping warm and dry, eg wear warm waterproof clothing
      • Giving up or cutting down on smoking because smoking reduces blood flow
      • Massaging or exercising your fingers during work breaks
    • Report any problems with your hands promptly to your employer or the person who does your health checks
    • Use any control measures your employer has put in place to reduce the risk of HAVS
    • Ask your trade union safety representative or employee representative for advice

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    Uninsured Drivers In The UK

    Uninsured Drivers in the UK

    In the UK it’s a legal requirement for drivers to insure their cars before driving them. Regardless of this some people still decided to drive without insurance. Road traffic accidents can already present you with a wide range of problems and cause a lot of stress, this is only amplified if another party involved doesn’t have a valid insurance policy.

    You’ll have fears that you may lose your no claims bonus or have to pay for repairs to your car out of your own pocket. Thankfully more and more insurance companies now protect your no claims bonus should you be involved in an accident with an insured driver.

    It’s thought that over 1 million cars are driven in the UK without valid insurance. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau analysis revealed that in London one in eight cars are uninsured which earns the capital the title of the worst place for uninsured driving in the UK. This is causing insurance premiums to rise for those who do choose to get valid insurance, which in turn could be causing more people to drive uninsured due to the high costs.

    The trouble is the police simply doesn’t have enough time or resources to catch all those driving without insurance. There has been an increasing number of calls for the police to turn to modern Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to increase the number of drivers being caught. The technology to read number plates is widely available and already used to monitor drivers speeds, simple modifications to the system could see more cameras checking if cars are insured. This technology is already used in some places and could be rolled out easily and effectively.

    Can you still claim for injuries caused by an uninsured driver?

    The simple answer is yes, however claims involving uninsured drivers can be significantly more complex and there’s more chance of a claim failing. Although if you use a solicitor with experience in dealing with uninsured driver claims you should be able to receive compensation. Injury lawyers UK have over 20 years’ experience in dealing with claims involving uninsured drivers and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with us by completing an online enquiry form or to speak to a solicitor now call 0800 1123 156.

    What should you do if you have an accident with an uninsured vehicle?

    As with all accidents the information you gather immediately can prove vital in securing the maximum amount of compensation. To ensure you have the best chance of a successful compensation claim you should:

    Report the incident to the police

    Any road traffic accident should be reported to the police within 24 hours of the occurrence. This is no different if the other driver doesn’t hold a valid insurance policy. It would be useful to inform the police that another party involved didn’t have insurance when reporting the accident. If a report is not made to the police within 24 hours it may be impossible to make a successful claim.

    Collect details

    Whenever you’re involved in a road traffic accident you should gather the details of the other parties involved. This should include their name, address and contact details of the driver and any passengers in their vehicle at the time.

    If anyone saw the accident occur gather their name, address and contact details, this should help us prove who was at fault and caused the accident.

    Document evidence

    If possible you should document as much evidence as possible, this will help us prove the accident occurred and the cars which were involved. Pull out your phone and either start taking photos or video the scene of the crash, capture the number plates of all cars involved and try and match the cars to their driver. You should also try to gather as much of the following list as possible:

    • Details of when the accident took place (date and time)
    • Details of where the accident took place (which road etc)
    • Road conditions- for example, the weather at the time of the accident, the road signs, the visibility, whether the other car had lights on or not
    • Details of damage- this includes damage to both your car and the other vehicles involved in the accident
    • Sketch of the accident scene outlining where point of contact was
    • Anything that the other driver said at the scene – this information can be important at a later date if legal proceedings were to occur
    • Any police report numbers

    Electrical Accidents at Work – Facts and Statistics

    Electricity is part of everyday life, without it many tasks in our day to day life would be impossible. It’s also a big part of our working lives with most job roles containing an aspect of using electrical devices to complete tasks. Other roles come into direct contact with electricity such as electricians.

    What is an electrical accident?

    An electrical accident is an accident that exposes the user to a direct electrical current. More often than not this can lead to an electric shock, which occurs when an extremity such as a finger, hand or arm is placed across an electric current.

    Electric shocks can vary drastically in severity, mild electric shock will leave a slight tingling sensation. Moderate electrical shocks can cause the muscles to contract, this can make it very difficult to pull away from the electrical current. Severe electric shocks can lead to respiratory or heart failure.

    Electrical fires are also classified as electrical accidents, these occur when the electrical current ignites flammable materials. These fires are extremely dangerous as if you try to put out the fire by pouring water on them it could result in an electric shock.

    Electrical burns are a severe electric shock causes tissue to burn, these burns can be external or internal. Internal burns are the result of the electrical current taking a path through bone and burns deep tissue.

    There’s a huge list of reasons why the accident has occurred, but they are commonly caused by poorly maintained electrical equipment, faulty or exposed wiring and unchecked electrical appliances.

    Electrical Accidents in the UK

    During 2015/16 just electrical fires caused 1380 fatalities or injuries, that’s an average of 4 a day. The leading cause of these fires are cookers and ovens causing 679 of the fatalities or injuries. Over half (54.4%) of all fires in England during 2015/16 were caused by electricity.

    Of this 54.4% (15,432) the most common cause was due to misuse of equipment or appliance (7,392). Appliance or supply fault followed closely behind causing 6,226 of the fires.

    During 2017/18 three people lost their lives due to safety-related electrical incidents in Great Britain, during the same period 315 people suffered serious injuries. Both of which are down from 7 and 351 respectively during 2016/17 and there has been a general downward trend in the number of serious and fatal accidents where electricity has been involved.

    How can employers prevent electrical accidents?

    Employers have an overriding duty of care to protect the people they employee, they should do their best to minimise the risk of an accident occurring by:

    Conducting regular risk assessments

    All workplaces and employers should conduct regular risk assessments, employers should ensure they look into and assess the danger that electricity may pose to its employees. Once they have identified the risks an action plan should be put in place to combat the risk. This could mean replacing old equipment and cabling or re-configuring the layout of an office.

    This isn’t a one off job and should be repeated on a regular basis, once a month is normally suitable. This will enable you to identify how the risks are changing over time and means you can keep the risk as low as possible.

    Ensure all electrical equipment is maintained and in a good condition

    Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is the process of examining electrical products and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. It’s not a legal requirement to have equipment tested, but it’s encouraged to ensure that the equipment is not a risk to those using it.

    It’s a simple visual examination to try and identify any defects that may not have been noticed unless testing takes place, potentially posing a risk to the user.

    Ensure any working area is safe to work in

    Workplaces should be designed to minimise the risk employees face while completing their day to day tasks. This can be achieved a number of different ways including: identifying electrical sources, ensuring electricity is turned off when working near power supplies and wiring or using suitable personal protective equipment for the job.

    If you’re working in a public place then you should also ensure the safety of the public, this can be done by erecting barriers at an appropriate distance away with warning signs and putting up signs where there are live electrical circuits.

    Provide appropriate personal protective equipment

    Employers should provide their employees with the correct personal protective equipment. This equipment will need to be in good condition and suitable for the job its required for. Staff should also be provided with the training and guidance needed to use the equipment effectively.

    Provide employees with up to date training

    Employers should provide their employees with the correct and up-to-date training for minimising the risk of an electrical accident occurring. This should include: how to report faulty equipment, what warning and hazard signs mean and how to react in an emergency situation.

    Manual Handling Injuries – Facts and Statistics

    Every year thousands of people in the UK suffer a manual handling injury in their workplace, varying from minor injuries to serious long term injuries. Nearly all jobs require employees to carry an items from time to time, whether it be a laptop or parcel, most of the time this happens without any injury being suffered. Unfortunately, accidents will, and do still happen on a regular basis across the UK.

    What is manual handling?

    Manual handling is defined as the supporting or transporting of a load manually (e.g. by hand or by use of bodily force). This can include but is not limited to lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying, or putting down a load.

    Many of the tasks we do on a daily basis require manual handling, whether it be carrying files around an office, carrying materials around a construction site, or picking up your child. More often than not manual handling injuries are caused by incorrect methods and not knowing your own limit.

    Manual handling injuries in the UK

    Manual handling injuries fall into the category of work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs), other causes of WRMSDs include awkward/tiring positions, keyboard work or repetitive action, workplace accident and stress-related.

    Between 2009-10 and 2011-12 the average number of musculoskeletal disorders per 100,000 workers was 1,680. Manual handing is reported to have caused 740 of these injuries which equates to around 44%.

    Work related musculoskeletal disorders are more common injuries for those between the ages of 45-54 and those over 55. During the period of 2015-16 and 2017-18 males in the age categories 45-54 and 55+ suffered significantly higher rates than the average with 2,120 cases and 2,190 cases per 100,000 workers respectively. Females in the same age ranges also had significantly higher rates with 1,960 and 2,220 cases per 100,000 workers respectively.

    WRMSDs represent around 25% of all days lost due to work-related ill health in Great Britain in 2017/18, this equates to 6.5 million lost days. Out of this 6.5 million, work related upper limb disorders account for around 2.6 million days lost, with back disorders around 2.2 million and lower limb disorders causing 1.7 million.

    Is manual handling training a legal requirement

    Yes, manual handling training is a legal requirement in any workplace where staff are required to do any lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying, or lowering of loads. Most workplaces will need to provide at least basic training with those who work in a high risk level environment should receive additional training.

    What are the risks of manual handling?

    Given that manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries it is apparent the risks of manual handling in the workplace are often over looked. These injuries often happen when we are least expecting them, we lift and carry things all the time without issue so we don’t expect anything to go wrong.

    Manual handling injuries vary in seriousness and while some can be minor others can be life changing. We’ve listed 7 common manual handling injuries to look out for in your workplace.

    Back injuries

    When completing a manual handling task your back is the weakest part of your body. If you have a poor lifting technique or are attempting to lift more than your body can handle you can cause serious injury to your back.

    Although it’s not just while trying to lift that back injuries can occur, once you’re carrying the load you should take extra care as the strain on your back is increased significantly. Stooping or twisting can also make you more vulnerable to injury.

    Strains and sprains

    When you over work your body by attempting to move a load which may be heavier than you expected, or simply harder to grip than you first anticipated you can overstretch your muscles. This can cause inflammation, bruising and pain, often this will occur in the back, arms, or wrists.

    Hand injuries

    We all use our hands on a day to day basis, we would struggle to perform many daily tasks without them in fact. Whatever type of manual handling activity you carry out it is more than likely you will be using your hands to grip the item. This turns the item into a hazard in itself if the item has sharp edges you can easily cut your hand as you form a grip.

    Not all injuries to your hands occur from direct contact with the item if the item you’re handling is putting excess pressure on a bone or an area of skin you could cause bruising or break a bone. Fingers can easily be trapped underneath an item while putting it down, or between the item and an obstacle such as a door frame.

    Foot injuries

    Although it may sound strange for a foot injury to be caused by poor manual handling but in most of the cases in which a victim breaks a bone it is usually in the foot. These are often caused by the dropping of the load onto a foot, injuries can be serious if protective footwear is now being used.

    Musculoskeletal disorders

    Covering a range of different issues and pains musculoskeletal disorders are broken into three categories, upper limb disorders (e.g. shoulders, neck, arms, and wrists), lower limb disorders (e.g. hips, legs, and toes) and back injuries.

    Unlike other injuries, musculoskeletal disorders tend to happen over a longer period of time, it can be caused by repetitive lifting leading to damage, pain and or stiffness in tissue and joints. They are the result of one of more of these tissues having to work harder than they are designed to.

    Slip, trip and fall injuries

    Whether you are carrying out a manual handling task or not, slips, trips and falls can happen at any time. But should a slip, trip or fall occur while you are carrying an item the injuries can be much more significant and the chance of an accident occurring can be increased.

    If your visibility is blocked by the item you are carrying you are likely to find it difficult to see any potential hazards, especially if they are at ground level. Before you carry out any manual handling task a risk assessment should be carried out to identify any hazards which need to be minimised.


    A hernia is the medical term used when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. Hernias often occur after repeated strain on the tummy area. Over straining while lifting loads heavier than you can handle can cause hernias and the risk’s increase as you get older.

    Most hernias will not get better without surgery and can cause varying amounts of pain.

    What should employers do to protect employees?

    Employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their staff, employers also have a legal duty to follow the Manual Handling Operations Regulations. These regulations were put in place to protect employees from injuries due to manual handling in the workplace.

    Although there is no such thing as a ‘no lifting’ policy within the regulations, they instead state that manual handling should only be performed when it is absolutely necessary and once the risks have been assessed and minimised where possible.

    The best way for employers to ensure the safety of staff in the workplace is to ensure they adhere to three rules, which are:

    Avoid manual handling wherever possible

    The most effective method of ensuring the employees are not injured while manual handling is to avoid all manual handling. This can include using machinery or other equipment (e.g. lifts and trolleys) to complete the task at hand or assist at very least.

    However, it’s acknowledged that there are instances where avoidance is not possible.

    Assess the risk of manual handling where it is required

    Where avoidance is not an option and manual handling is the only option, an assessment should be performed to ensure that any remaining risks are minimised.
    When completing a risk assessment employees should focus on the main areas of:

    • The task in hand
    • The load involved
    • The working environment
    • The individuals involved capability

    Within this, factors to consider include:

    • Whether the activity involves twisting, bending, sudden movement and the distance of travel required
    • The size and weight of the load
    • The space available to perform the activity in and the conditions of the area (wet, slippery, etc)
    • The strength and height of the individual

    Reduce the risk of injury

    To reduce the risk of injury employees should take into considerations such as whether or not more than one person can perform the task, could the loads be made smaller and whether the distance of travel could be reduced.

    Employers should also provide their employees with manual handling training to ensure they know the safe way to lift objects. Just by doing this, employers could see a vast reduction in the number of injuries that occur in the workplace, with vast majority of injuries sustained due to poor handling techniques.

    Personal Protective Equipment – Facts and Statistics

    Personal protective equipment should increase the safety of workers, unfortunately the personal protective equipment isn’t always maintained to the correct standard. Or in some cases isn’t made available at all.

    What is personal protective equipment?

    Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the equipment individuals can use to protect themselves from hazards and risks while in the workplace.
    Personal protective equipment includes but is not limited to:

    • High visibility clothing
    • Hard hats
    • Safety Helmets
    • Goggles and safety glasses
    • Safety footwear
    • Hand protection
    • Face masks
    • Ear defenders
    • Harnesses
    • Breathing apparatus

    This equipment should be maintained to a high standard and be readily available or a requirement to enter different workplaces. If the equipment is not maintained properly it can become faulty and have the reverse effect of what it’s designed for, cause injuries.

    Injuries involving PPE in the UK

    Around 9,000 personal protective equipment related accidents are reported to the health and safety executive every single year. This matched with the construction industry seeing the largest number of fatal accidents and one of the highest fatal injury rates proves how important correct use of PPE is.

    PPE related accidents cost the economy £252 million each year. Foot related injuries top the pile costing £85 million per year, while hand and arm related accidents cost £75 million over the same period.

    Inspectors found that around £96 million of the total could not have been prevented or mitigated by the PPE provided. Failure to consider personal protective equipment resulted in costs of around £49 million whilst not using the PPE provided resulted in costs of around £65 million.

    In around one-third of the cases personal protective equipment was used correctly, but the accident resulted from some other cause that could not have been prevented or mitigated by the PPE.

    How can employers prevent accidents involving PPE?

    Employers have responsibility for keeping the staff they employee safe while at work. Sometimes this can include providing personal protective equipment to the employees and enforcing strict rules about workplace safety.

    When employers provide employees with personal protective equipment they need to:

    Ensure that personal protective equipment is assessed and fit for purpose prior to use

    Before the personal protective equipment is used employers should carry out a process whereby careful consideration is given to the choice of equipment to be used when performing certain tasks.

    Issues to consider include:

    • Who is using the equipment and what health and safety risks might they be exposed to
    • How long will they be exposed to these risks
    • How much of a risk will they be exposed to

    The equipment should not only be chosen by the task in hand but also take into consideration the users, ensure the size, weight and fit of the PPE is suitable for the employee completing the task.

    Provide adequate training on using equipment

    To ensure they’re compliant with the regulations set out by the government employers should provide all members of staff with up to date training for the equipment they will be using. If the employees are not trained to use the equipment it could lead to more injuries occurring.

    Ensure equipment has been maintained and stored correctly

    With a lot of the personal protective equipment being reusable, it’s vital that it’s maintained and stored properly. If the equipment hasn’t been it could result in defects to equipment and increase the employees exposure to risk.

    Responsibility should be assigned to an individual or group of individuals for the maintenance and safe storage of personal protective equipment as well as ensuring that there is a ready supply available as and when required.

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