Manufacturing staff are putting colleagues at risk by not reporting accidents at work and exposing their employers to potential prosecution for failing to comply with health and safety legislation, according to research.
A study by City & Guilds found that 80% of employees in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) estimated that up to one-quarter of accidents were not reported to line managers.
The severity of accidents varied, but one in 20 staff had witnessed an injury to the hand or finger – such as cutting or even losing a finger on a steel saw – while in the workplace.
The number of major injuries sustained while handling, lifting or carrying, has also increased by 12% in 2004-05.
Lynne Oliver, manufacturing and working practices specialist at City & Guilds, said: “The survey shows that Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines are not always adhered to.
“Safety is the collective responsibility of both employees and businesses and can have serious implications for all involved.”
While many employers took their HSE duties seriously, nearly one in 10 stated that, although health and safety was important to them, it was not a priority – despite the fact that a conviction could cost them their business.
Two-thirds of manufacturing SMEs were already offering training to their staff as part of the working day. But almost one in five employees also expressed a desire for health and safety guidance either in or out of office hours.