Suffered an Accident at the Workplace?
It is every employer’s duty to protect their employees and this includes a legal obligation to report serious accidents and to provide sick pay should it be owed.
Health and Safety at Work
When an accident has taken place in the workplace, your employer may have a duty to report it to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) if it is serious enough. This includes major instances such as broken bones, any injury that prevents the employee from working for three days or more, disease and death. However, in cases of fatal or extremely serious accidents, employers also have a duty to make a report to the Incident Contact Centre.
Responsibility for employee safety rests with the both the employer and the individual employee. Although it is the employer’s duty to carry out thorough risk assessments and to make any alterations necessary for the health and safety of both employees and visitors, it is up to the individual not to take unnecessary risks and to use the safety precautions and training that they have been provided with. In some cases where there has been a work accident compensation will be due. This occurs when the employer is found to be at fault.
It is also up to the employer to make decisions regarding first aiders – how many there should be and what equipment and facilities should be in place for them.
Whenever an employee has an accident at work, it is important that it is recorded in the accident book. All employers have a duty to keep an accident book, other than very small businesses. These records have a dual function: firstly, as a record for employees if they need time off work or to make potential compensation claims; secondly, to enable employers to spot safety problems and make improvements.
Whenever employees have to take time off work due to an accident they are only legally entitled to statutory sick pay. However, some employers may make additional payments if the accident is work related.
Making an Injury Claim
In cases in which employees feel that the employer is at fault for the accident, they may be able to make a claim for compensation. It is important to note, however, that there is a three-year limitation period on these claims.
It is very important to have a legal representative when making these claims. If the employee is a member of a trade union then it may be possible to use their legal services. Otherwise, a personal injury solicitor can provide professional advice and support.
If a claim is successful, then the employee should be paid damages, the aim of which is to put the claimant in the position they were in before the accident. It is obligatory under the law for employers to be insured to cover such successful claims.
What to Do Next?
When an employee has been injured in an accident at work there are a number of important steps to take:
1. The injury must be recorded in the accident book.
2. In serious cases, the employer must then report the injury to the HSE. It is often a good idea as an employee to ensure that your employer has taken this step.
3. The employee should check their contract for information regarding sick pay.
4. Employers and employees should try to settle any disputes they may have.
5. The employee should seek advice from a personal injury solicitor regarding a claim for compensation.
This post was written on behalf of Hughes Carlisle. Click here for more advice on employment and accidents.