Accidents in the Workplace: Your Risks, Rights and Responsibilities

Too many people shrug off injuries in the workplace and would rather suffer in silence than ‘make a fuss’. This needs to change.

Between 2011 and 2012, Britain saw 173 people lose their lives due to injuries they sustained at work – that’s more than 14 deaths per month.

This figure has started to diminish and as UK health & safety standards progress, you can expect (or hope) to see a markedly less harrowing figure over time. Nevertheless, occupational hazards will never cease to exist and if you fall victim to a workplace injury, it can take much more than a strong mind-set to recover.

Always report a workplace accident to your line manager and/or HR department as early as possible. They then in turn may be required to forward a RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1995) report to the Health and Safety Executive.  To review the types of accidents and injuries considered serious enough for RIDDOR investigation, click here.

All accidents should be reported if there has been an absence of more than 3 days. RIDDOR will consider the report and decide whether it satisfies the criteria for a formal investigation.

Once the accident is recorded, you can get in touch with a solicitor who specialises in employers liability claims and enquire about your rights to compensation, which you may need for:

Short & long term treatment
Loss of income due to time off work
Alternative transport
Home adaptations

The Duty of Your Employer

Any organisation with a workforce of 10 or more employees is required by law to have an official accident book.

Have you ever used your work accident book?  Do you even know where it is kept?

Many people can have an attitude that reporting an accident doesn’t really matter and there is no point in making a ‘big deal’ out of an injury.  That attitude sometimes isn’t helped by some employers failing to explain the company’s accident at work procedure or emphasising the importance of health and safety.

However most responsible employers do make a concerted effort to make staff aware of the workplace procedure and will often go the extra mile to make sure you’re well being is their top priority.

But following an accident at work, always review what has been written down and never sign the record if you doubt its accuracy.

Following that, if you are still unsure about whether you should take the case further contact an accident claims specialist for advice to be certain.

Takeaways:

Your employer has liability insurance in place for accident claims – so any compensation payment won’t be taken directly from the pockets of your boss.

‘Injuries’ can also refer to industrial diseases contracted in the workplace, such as mesothelioma from asbestos exposure.

By reporting an injury you could bring about a change in working practices, preventing a repeat of the accident in the future and contributing to the reduction in workplace deaths as a whole.

About the author

Susanne Baldwin is a solicitor with over fourteen years’ experience in personal injury claims.  Susanne specialises in accident at work claims and those cases involving occupiers and employers liability law at Spencers Solicitors.  You can find also follow Susanne on Google+