It is the responsibility and obligation of your employer to provide a safe working environment for you, but when there’s an accident in the workplace, what should you do?
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries occur frequently in the workplace where the employer is at fault. In these situations, it is important and worthwhile that you make a personal injury claim so that you can receive compensation and your employer is held to account.
There are, of course, industries which are more dangerous than others, but even an office-based role can be dangerous with many accidents happening each year which can result in life-changing injuries.
According to Health & Safety Training Ltd, here are some of the most common workplace injuries:-
Common Workplace Injuries
Perhaps the most obvious category of accident is a fall, for example slipping off a ladder, falling down a flight of stairs or falling from an elevated working platform. Your employer should provide the correct type of PPE and safety harness to minimise the risk to the employee and provided the necessary safety training.
Environments such as building sites are obvious risk zones – particularly where the falling objects are likely to be heavy tools or materials. But working in a supermarket with high shelves can be just as risky if you are stacking shelves – anywhere in fact where extensive racking is used.
This type of accident can result in extremely serious injuries, for example, entanglement where loose clothing or hair gets into the machine. I’m sure you have read plenty of news stories about the type of devastating injuries this can cause such as amputation and long term disfigurement – even death.
Anyone can be affected by repetitive strain and overextension injuries and the problem with these is that their effects are cumulative. So, even something simple as constant typing or an incorrect workstation set-up could have serious long term effects and even lead to permanent disabilities.
This type of injury includes carpal tunnel syndrome, vision problems and muscle strains but all of these can be avoided with the right equipment, training and safe working policies.
Slips and trips
Whether the result of clutter or wet floors, injuries can be anything from a bruised knee to a broken leg. Even if you don’t hit the ground you can still damage your muscles or sprain your back. Good working practices should ensure that these types of accident are few and far between.
Violence at work
Personally, I have never witnessed this but I have heard plenty of tales of workplace injury through a violent act by another employee. It might be a punch from an angry co-worker or an assault from a member of the public but incidents like this can result in serious harm.
It’s the responsibility of your employer to carry out an appropriate risk assessment to ensure the security of staff – and also provide appropriate PPE, self-defence and restraint training.
If you have suffered an injury in the workplace, these are the next steps that you need to take.
Steps to take when there has been an accident in the workplace
Check For Injuries
Obviously, the very first thing to do is to check for injuries and get medical attention if you need it. If there was anyone else involved, perhaps a fellow employee, you should also check them for injuries and make sure that the area is safe. Call emergency services if required. Even if you do not have a serious injury, it is important to see a healthcare professional to obtain medical details.
Inform Your Employer
You should then inform your employer as soon as possible and make sure that the event is logged in an accident book. Make sure that you provide as much information as you can, including the time and date, the cause of the accident, injuries sustained and any witnesses. You should also notify the Health & Safety Executive of the accident.
You should then gather details of the accident. The evidence could include photographs of the scene and aftermath and photos of any injuries sustained. You could also draw a diagram of what happened and obtain reports from any witnesses.
If the accident has led to an injury that makes it hard or impossible to do your job, you will need to take time off work which could make you entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If the injury is severe and life-changing, you may also be entitled to benefits.
You will then want to contact a personal injury specialist who will listen to your account of what happened and determine whether or not you can make a claim.
If you can make a claim, they will provide you with a solicitor who specialises in workplace accidents who will start to build your case. They will do all of the negotiating on your behalf and work to get you the best possible compensation.
The amount that you are entitled to will, of course, depend on the severity of your injury, the amount of money that you may have lost as a result of the injury and whether or not you will miss out on future earnings or if the accident will interfere with your quality of life.
If there has been an accident at your place of work that has left you injured, then it is important that you take steps to receive compensation.
In addition to providing you with financial security for the future, it is also important to take a stand so that your employer is held accountable and will take steps to stop a future accident in the workplace from occurring.