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Accidents at work: causes, definition and prevention

A work accident is a sudden and unexpected event that occurs during the performance of an employee’s work. This accident can cause him bodily injury or psychological damage. Cases of accidents at work are those that cause the most work stoppages to their victims.

Published on 30 June 2023 - Manut-LM

In this article, find out what are the causes of workplace accidents and how to prevent them through, for example, the use of Manut-LM cobotic solutions.

What is a workplace accident?

An accident at work is characterized by:

  • The fact, which must be datable and describable;
  • Its suddenness, that is, the fact is unexpected and takes place in a short interval of time;
  • An attack on the employee’s health.

An accident at work is established on the basis of a fact. This fact must necessarily be “sudden”. It is this sudden factor that makes it possible to distinguish the accident at work from the occupational disease such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

It must therefore be possible to link the accident suffered by the employee to one or more events that took place during the exercise of his professional activity. The accident must be datable and fixed in time for efficient management.

To learn more about the various accidents at work, consult now our other guides related to this theme and discover how to prevent accidents involving forklifts, pallet trucks or why the construction industry is conducive to the occurrence of many accidents.

What damage can a workplace accident cause?

The damage that can be caused by a workplace accident is:

  • Cuts and burns;
  • Muscle pain that appears as a result of carrying heavy loads;
  • Fractures due to falls from height or shocks;
  • Heart problems;
  • Emotional disorders due to verbal aggression in business.

An accident recognized as an accident at work gives entitlement to several benefits that can be financed by the Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie.

These include:

  • The indemnity paid in the event of a work stoppage:

If the accident results in the absence of work, the employee will be able to claim Social Security based on the daily wage and additional benefits paid by the employer or insurer if he declares the accident.

  • Compensation in the event of permanent incapacity for work:

If the employee is the victim of an accident resulting in permanent disability, the health insurance and his employer must pay him daily allowances which he can only receive if he is unable to return to work.

A temporary incapacity allowance to compensate for his lack of salary may also be paid to him.

How to prevent accidents at work?

Although the number of cases of victims of accidents at work decreased in 2020 in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the risks of accidents at work are still present in many places, hence the importance for employers to take measures to combat their recurrence.

Here are some tips to effectively prevent workplace accidents.

Encourage a healthy attitude at work

Encouraging a healthy attitude at work fosters a culture of safety and a sense of responsibility.

As a worker, you must ensure the safety of your co-workers and your own safety by operating responsibly to reduce the risk of bodily injury or complaints.

A clean and tidy professional environment prevents employees from certain accidents due to negligence.

Secure your machine park

Production companies usually use machinery for handling.

This means ensuring that all machines are sufficiently secured and protected. Securing your machines can be done through the installation of protective grids.

You can use flexible, polymer and fiberglass-reinforced protections to keep workers away from machines if they trip or if there is a distraction.

Carry out the technical inspection of the vehicles

Transport trucks, administrative vehicles, trolleys, mobile cranes, tower cranes, bucket lifts and hoists must always be scanned to avoid accidents due to poor condition of the company’s vehicles.

It is also very important to carry out the control of forklifts because they are very often the cause of occupational accidents when pedestrians pass. You must check-up them at intervals to ensure the operationality of all parts.

Limit speeds for forklifts

To limit the risk of workplace accidents, introduce a speed limit for forklifts that cause several workplace accidents because of speeding near workers.

Keep in mind past accident cases

Past accident cases must be carefully examined to learn from them and ensure that the same causes do not produce the same effects.

It is therefore important to look at risk areas. The safety level of the accident area can also be high. This can be done with the appeal of the Caisse primaire de l’assurance maladie.

Create a prevention unit

If your company has more than twenty employees, you are obliged to appoint an occupational accident risk prevention advisor. In case your company has fewer than 20 employees, you can assume this role yourself.

The roles of the Prevention Advisor are:

  • A prevention advisor prepares a risk analysis, i.e. conducts an assessment of potential hazards, ranging from safety risks to health risks. While taking into account the psychosocial burden (harassment, inappropriate behaviour or violence;
  • He must provide advice on working with hazardous substances, the use of safety work clothing;
  • He must take care of the administrative side through the drafting of a prevention plan, the provision of monthly and annual reports;
  • He is also responsible for drafting internal emergency procedures specific to the company, organizing first aid teams and ensuring medical surveillance for the occupational physician.

Make your employees aware of security measures

It’s not just about putting up posters and signage in the workplace. Raising awareness among your employees consists of involving them in the process of preventing accidents at work.

You will also have to organize daily conferences on workplace safety.

How to prevent occupational risks with Manut-LM solutions?

It is the employer’s responsibility to take measures to ensure the safety of its employees.

To do so, it must, by law:

  • Form;
  • Inform;
  • Establish a system of defence and reaction to occupational risk.

With Manut-LM solutions, guarantee safety for your employees while reducing the arduousness of their work. In addition to improving the well-being of the latter, you will increase the production capacity of your company.

Finally, let us remember that the risk of accident cannot be totally excluded in business, but certain actions can be adopted to limit the occurrence of an occupational accident. You will therefore have to look into whether the accident can be avoided or treated at the source.
If this is not the case, you will have to take technical, institutional or general measures to minimize the risk of accidents at work for your employees.

By contacting one of our Manut-LM experts, get ahead of the curve in preventing the risks of workplace accidents related to the use of forklifts, pallet trucks or others and make safe operations your priority!

What is a workplace accident?

A work accident is a sudden and unexpected event that occurs in the course of performing an employee’s work. This accident can cause him bodily injury or psychological damage.

How can an accident at work be identified?

An accident at work is recognized as such when it is characterized by:

  • A datable and describable fact;
  • Its suddenness, that is, the fact is unexpected and takes place at a short time interval;<
  • An attack on the employee’s health.
How to prevent accidents at work?

Here are some tips to effectively prevent workplace accidents:

  • Encourage a healthy attitude at work;
  • Secure your machine park;
  • Create a prevention unit;
  • Carry out the technical inspection of the vehicles;
  • Limit speeds for forklifts;
  • Make your employees aware of security measures.
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