Accidents at work aren’t something you can plan for. Or are they? While you can’t foresee the unexpected, knowing what to do if you are involved in an accident at work can help you be more prepared for the steps that come afterwards.
If you have an accident at work, you should make sure that it’s been recorded and reported. Your employer should take steps to reduce the risk of it happening again. You can also consider claiming compensation for your injury.
Accidents at work are more common than you might think. With over half a million people sustaining injuries at work in 2018-19, no industry is immune.
So what do you need to know about accident at work procedures?
We update all our guides regularly. If you are researching Personal Injury and Personal Injury Compensation Claims and we haven't got an exact guide that helps you, keep coming back as we update daily.
First things first, let’s look at what is meant by accident. While in regular day-to-day life, we might use words like ‘accident’ and ‘incident’ to mean the same thing, in the eyes of the law, they’re actually very different.
The Health and Safety Executive defines an accident as “a separate, identifiable, unintended incident which causes physical injury”. Put simply; this means that if you’re injured as a result of an unexpected event connected to the work you’re doing, it counts as an accident.
But that’s not the whole story. For an accident to be considered work-related, it also has to meet at least one of these criteria:
While the specifics of this might not matter too much day to day, the distinction is important when it comes to personal injury claims from injuries sustained in the workplace. This is because it’s important to be able to determine who was at fault for the accident - if the accident isn’t technically related to work duties, an employer can’t be held responsible for the accident or considered negligent, meaning no compensation payout from them.
Accidents can happen anywhere in the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive collects a lot of data about workplace injuries. We can get a clear picture of which serious accidents are most common in the workplace from this data.
Here are the top five most common kinds of accidents reported by employers through nearly 70,000 RIDDOR reports in 2018/19.
|Type or cause of an accident||Frequency|
|Slips, trips or falls||29%|
|Manual handling, lifting or carrying||20%|
|Being struck by a moving object||10%|
|Falls from a height||8%|
|Acts of violence||8%|
All accidents at work should be reported. It doesn't matter how small an accident was, both you and your employer have certain responsibilities when it comes to accident reporting.
Here is a guide to the general steps you should take when reporting an accident at work. Different workplaces may have slightly different procedures, so check your employee handbook if you're not sure what applies to you.
Safety is the most important thing after an accident. Immediately after the accident, check your surroundings. Try to remove the cause of the accident if it's safe for you to do so. If you or anyone else needs immediate medical attention, make this known to nearby witnesses.
Report any injuries to your manager or supervisor as soon as you can. They will most likely have the resources to help with whatever you need after the accident, be that medical attention from a first aider or information on what to do next.
By law, all injuries at work should be recorded in an accident book. This goes for any injury, no matter how severe - from cuts and scrapes to broken bones. Depending on the severity of the injury and your workplace policies, your manager may have to produce an accident report.
The accident report should gather information such as:
It's in your best interests that this is filled in as accurately as possible. Even if you can't fill out the accident book or report yourself, check with your manager and ask to see a copy when it's complete. This information will be useful if you need to make a claim.
For certain serious workplace injuries, it's a legal requirement that employers report them to the Health and Safety Executive under a set of rules known as RIDDOR. This is a step your employer has to take within a set timeframe, so there's no harm in checking they've done it.
As well as the record that your workplace takes, it's also a good idea to collect information for your own records. If you end up having to make a claim, it's beneficial to have:
If your workplace doesn’t record the accident for whatever reason, write down the details yourself and make two copies - one for your records, one to send over to your manager.
Even if the accident isn’t serious, it’s a good idea to make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible. This is so that you can get treatment and also so the injury can be added to your medical records - good evidence to have if you need to make a personal injury claim.
If the accident was due to negligence on your employer's part - them not holding up their end of the safety at work bargain - then you could be owed compensation for your injuries. If you think the Accident may not have been your fault, it's a good idea to seek legal advice.
When looking to claim compensation as a consequence of an accident at work, you can seek compensation without third-party assistance. However, many people find it easier to use claims management companies as they have an understanding of the UK legal system, tort law, and how to secure the most compensation possible. It is worth noting that many claims management companies will offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement.
If pursuing a claim yourself, there is no formal cost, although you may require the assistance of third parties. The “no win no fee” arrangement offered by many claims management companies effectively indemnifies you from the claims management company’s expenses when pursuing your case.
They will, however, look to negotiate a “success fee” which is an element of any compensation awarded. The main thing to remember here is that if your case is not successful, then your claims management company will not be paid – no expense to you.
First of all, you need to prove negligence by one or more third parties, and then you can pursue compensation. The type of evidence required to prove negligence includes:-
Basically, the more evidence you can collect to prove your case of negligence, the greater the chances of success, and moving onto compensation.
Once you have collated as much evidence as possible, it is time to approach a claims management company. They will give you an unbiased opinion on your evidence and the strength of your case.
If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, there is every chance they will offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement. We have covered this type of arrangement earlier in this article.
In the event that you are successful in prosecuting your employer for negligence, the compensation payment will come from the company’s insurance cover. Many people believe that the funds come directly from your employer, which is wrong.
There are many people who have refused to pursue compensation claims simply because they believed it would impact the financial viability of their employer.
Once you have proved negligence, you can then move on to compensation/damages. These are generally split into two different sections, general damages and special damages. General damages relate to financial compensation for pain and suffering. Special damages relate to ongoing medical costs, loss of income, property renovations if required, special purpose vehicles and other expenses.
You will be glad to know that the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. Others will fall by the wayside due to a lack of evidence or a weak case. Where there is a dispute over negligence/compensation, there is a chance that these cases will make it to court.
You would be asked to attend and give evidence of the incident and the injuries you received. Many people are put off by the thought of being “cross-examined” in court. The truth is that you will be advised and directed by your claims management company, and remember, you are not the one on trial!
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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