MSEs most at risk of workplace accidents

A construction worker checks for a response from his colleague, who has had an accident

A report by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has identified that micro and small enterprises* (MSEs) are most at risk of workplace accidents and illnesses, in comparison with larger organisations.

According to the report:

  • 30 per cent of MSEs do not conduct regular risk assessments (in comparison with only three per cent of organisations with 250 or more employees)
  • of these MSEs, more than 80 per cent believe they are already aware of the hazards or don’t have any major problems.

Even though MSEs account for nearly 99 per cent of European enterprises (employing almost half the European workforce), a substantial proportion do not have sufficient occupational safety and health arrangements in place, meaning that the safety and health of employees is poorly protected.

According to Eurostat, between 2008 and 2012 fatal accidents were most common in organisations with less than 50 employees, due to factors including:

  • low investment
  • limited knowledge
  • limited capacity
  • limited resources.

In the UK, employers need to comply with the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 which apply to all workplaces, regardless of size or number of staff.

As an employer you must:

  • assess your first aid needs based on the hazards and risks involved in your workplace
  • provide appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill staff.

View our guide to needs assessments

* A micro enterprise has fewer than 10 employees, and a small enterprise has fewer than 50 employees. 

© British Red Cross 2019