It’s unfortunate, but even with all the planning and risk assessments in the world, accidents at work still happen. In fact, we see hundreds of thousands of injuries at work every year - 581,000 workers reported work-related injuries or ill health in 2019 according to Office of National Statistics Labour Force Survey 18/19.
If you have an accident at work, it needs to be reported to your line manager and recorded in an accident log. The cause of the accident should be identified and fixed if necessary. You may need to be paid sick pay while you recover.
But nobody goes to work to get hurt.
There are strict health and safety laws in place so, if accidents do happen, there are consequences for those in charge. The reporting of accidents and incidents is one crucial way to keep everyone as safe as possible at work.
Continue reading to get all the details and what you should do.
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In everyday language, the words ‘accident’ and ‘incident’ are often used interchangeably. But in the world of health and safety in the workplace, they mean two very different things.
To put it simply, if there’s an injury, it’s an accident. If nobody is hurt, it’s just an incident. You may also hear incidents at work where nobody was hurt referred to as ‘near misses’.
While some may see it as office bureaucracy or red tape, reporting accidents and incidents at work is important for both employees and employers alike.
If incidents go unreported, it leaves the door open for similar events to happen in the future. If someone slips on a wet floor when there is no warning sign up, for example, they may escape unscathed this time. But if nothing is done and the same thing happens again, what’s to say that the next person won’t seriously injure themselves?
Employers have a legal duty of care to provide you with a safe working environment and protect you from anything that might harm you at work. Part of that comes by identifying, managing and removing risks. Any incident or accident is an opportunity to investigate what happened (and why) so steps can be taken to keep everyone safe going forward.
This is another reason your employer will likely have an accident book at work. By law, all accidents, no matter how minor should be recorded. Plus, if anyone is seriously injured at work, the Health and Safety Executive want to know about it.
Employers also have to follow a set of regulations known as RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) and report certain serious injuries within a set timeframe.
So, if you've been involved in an accident at work, what are the steps you should take to report it?
Immediately after the incident has occurred, assess the situation to see if there is any risk that you or somebody else could get hurt. If it’s safe for you to do so, remove the source of danger - for example, moving an object you tripped over or turning off a piece of equipment.
If you or anyone else is injured, get medical attention as soon as possible. A designated first aider should be trained to handle most minor scrapes and recommend when any further action should be taken immediately, such as calling a doctor or the emergency services.
Who you report the accident to depends on where you were working when it happened, and whether you’re classed as an employee or self-employed.
If you’re at your usual place of work: Tell your manager or supervisor so they can take the necessary next steps. If you’re self-employed, you may have to contact the HSE directly.
If you’re working somewhere else: Tell the person you usually report to while you’re there, a site manager for example. It’s good practice to tell your manager or supervisor too.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, it may be a good idea to collect some extra information - things like names and contact details of any witnesses, or photos of your injury and what in particular caused the accident.
You may also find it useful to make notes or a timeline of exactly what happened as soon as you can after the accident so you don’t forget any details which could be important later on.
If an employer has more than ten employees, they need to record accidents in an accident book. While this tends to be the job of managers, you may be asked to sign the book, and there's no harm in asking your manager to check it has been entered correctly.
Even if the injury wasn't serious, it's a good idea to make an appointment to see your GP - both for treatment, and so the accident can be added to your medical records. If you need time off work due to your injury, you may also be eligible for sick pay, statutory or otherwise. Check with your employer as to what pay you are entitled to if you do need to take time off.
If you are a member of a trade union, speaking to them may help you figure out if there are any further steps you want to take - legal action is not uncommon when it comes to workplace injuries that were somebody else's fault.
If you feel the accident wasn't your fault, you may be able to claim compensation. The amount you can claim depends on the severity of the injury, but can quite easily rack up into the many thousands of pounds if your employer is found to be at fault.
There is a time limit on how long after an accident, you can make a claim, so seek legal advice as soon as you can if you want to explore this further.
Yes. In theory, you can pursue compensation yourself without using the services of a claims management company. However, you will need to prove negligence and then negotiate compensation. It is no surprise that many people turn to claims management companies when pursuing compensation.
They have the experience; they know how the legal system works, and history shows that on average, they are able to negotiate a much higher compensation figure.
In theory, there is a three-year window of opportunity in which to claim compensation for an injury caused by the negligence of third party. Normally this period begins on the date of the accident.
However, if for some reason, your injuries/medical conditions were not diagnosed until further down the line, your period during which to claim compensation would begin on the date of your diagnosis.
When seeking compensation, you will often hear about the phrase “tort claim” which is a legal term. This covers injuries caused by the negligence of one or more third parties for which you are entitled to claim compensation. When seeking to prove negligence, you will need to provide evidence which might include:-
This list is by no means conclusive, but it does give you an idea of the type of evidence you require to prove negligence. When looking to claim compensation, your first task is to prove negligence.
If you are seeking the services of a personal injury claims management company, then you need to approach them with details of your case and the evidence you have collected. They will give an independent review of your case and supporting evidence.
If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, then they will likely offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement. In addition, they will look to negotiate what is known as a “success fee”. This is in effect their reward for a successful prosecution.
In simple terms, a success fee is in agreement with your claims management company, ensuring they receive a set percentage of any compensation awarded. Traditionally this tends to be around 25% although it can vary quite widely on a case-by-case basis.
There are two specific types of damages when it comes to personal injury claims, general damages and special damages. General damages are simply financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
Special damages related to an array of different issues such as current and ongoing medical expenses, loss of earnings, loss of bonuses, home renovations, special needs and many more expenses.
There are two ways to look at the pursuit of damages/compensation for injuries received as a consequence of negligence by your employer. First of all, you have the chance to pursue perfectly legitimate compensation for injuries and other issues directly related to the accident.
Secondly, it is only by holding negligent parties to account that future processes/procedures will change. So, by holding a negligent party to account, you will also ensure that others do not go through the same turmoil as you.
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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