Top 10 Biggest Causes of Workplace Accidents and What You Can Do About It

In the year 2022/23, a staggering 561,000 workers in the UK sustained non-fatal injuries in their workplaces, and 124,000 of these injuries resulted in absences exceeding seven days.

While accidents are an unfortunate reality, many of these work-related injuries could have been prevented through proper measures.

Reducing the occurrence of accidents ensures employee safety and maintains productivity levels. What makes this even easier is that implementing preventive measures has become more accessible than ever before.

Before we look at what your business can do to prevent these injuries, let’s see what the 10 biggest causes of workplace accidents are, so you can identify what is common in your particular workplace and how to mitigate it.

1.Slips, Trips, and Falls

32% of all non-fatal workplace injuries were attributed to slips, trips, and falls, making them the most common type of accident. They can happen in any workplace setting where employees may encounter slippery surfaces, which can result from spills, oil leaks, and debris.
Working from ladders, scaffolding, or high platforms is another way employees can expose themselves to dangerous situations and heighten the risk of falls.

2.Handling, Lifting, or Carrying

Lifting heavy objects at work can lead to severe injuries like back problems, broken bones, muscle strains, and even heart issues.
While often associated with warehouses, improper handling, lifting, or carrying techniques can cause injuries in any workplace setting.

3.Falling Objects

Objects falling from heights can lead to painful injuries, even if they are not particularly heavy. A light object can still cause damage if it falls with enough momentum from a significant height.
Improper storage and unsecured placement of objects on shelves or cupboards can cause significant injuries. A common issue is employees storing heavier items in the top drawers of filing cabinets to avoid bending down, making the cabinets top-heavy and prone to toppling over.

4.Toxic Fumes

These fumes can arise from hazardous chemicals in laboratory or manufacturing environments.
Exposure to them can cause skin or eye reactions and even respiratory problems in the long term.

5.Repetitive Strain

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is commonly associated with office workers who perform repetitive movements, such as typing, but it can affect various professions like hairdressers and assembly line workers.
RSI is an umbrella term for painful conditions that develop gradually, often causing symptoms like stiffness, weakness, swelling, and more that can become severe if left unaddressed.


Hazardous chemicals can also lead to chemical burns, but there are many other types of potential burns in the workplace, including heat burns and electrical burns.

Burns result in damage to your body’s skin tissue and, while many are minor, some burns can result in life-changing consequences.


Cuts and lacerations can occur in various environments. Improper use or lack of safety equipment when handling equipment like knives or paper trimmers can lead to these injuries. Many are minor, but there is always a risk of more severe cuts.

8.Exposure to Loud Noises

Loud noise exposure is a significant risk for industrial workers. While the effects may not be immediately noticeable, prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels can lead to irreversible hearing damage Overlooking the need for proper ear protection can have long-term consequences.

9.Vehicle Collisions

Driving is a crucial part of many jobs, including delivery drivers and forklift operators. Operating vehicles on the job can pose risks of collisions and accidents, potentially leading to devastating injuries, which are more common when workers are fatigued or distracted while driving.

10.Acts of Violence

With different kinds of people in the workplace, tensions between colleagues can arise, which can lead to a verbal or physical fight that can lead to injuries.

What Can You Do About These Issues?

  • Here are some of the top preventive methods to reinforce in the workplace:
  • Provide safety equipment such as protective goggles and ear protection
  • Enforce safe operating procedures
  • Safety procedure training, such as manual handling training and how to act if a burn was to arise
  • Clear signage, such as warning labels on hazardous chemicals or wet floor signs
  • Regular break reminders for employees
  • Grievance procedures to minimise the risk of employee tensions escalating

Regular Risk Assessments to Identify Changing Risks

Of course, there’s much more that can be done to prevent workplace accidents but these are a few things to begin making your workplace a better place to work.