How employers should handle an employees accident at work and claims for compensation

Employers have responsibilities when one of their staff members is injured in an accident at work. Regardless of the accident specifics or severity of injury, all employers should have a pre-planned policy that is published, known of by key staff members and put in to place whenever the worst happens and a staff member has an accident in the workplace. It doesn’t matter if the accident seems innocuous – like a slip on a wet floor at work or if there is a very serious accident when staff members suffer serious injuries, the way a company handles accidents should always be the same.

Of course, in cases of accidents that involve serious injuries or even death, there will be additional responsibilities on an employer where the ‘Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013′ requirements become a mandatory responsibility. This process is known as RIDDOR and ALL employers must adhere to the requirements to avoid serious breaches of health and safety law. Indeed, it may be a criminal matter if company managers and senior staff to fail to comply with the requirements of RIDDOR after an accident in the workplace.

Whilst some accidents can not be foreseen or prevented, the majority of the accident at work compensation claims that we have involvement in tend to involve scenarios that could and should have been avoided. Accidents at work happen when corners are cut, when staff members are not suitably trained and equipped and when there is no culture of personal responsibility and collective ownership. Claiming compensation after an accident at work is not a great outcome for either the injured employee or the employer. Although a successful claim for compensation after an accident at work can see an employee recover their losses and receive compensation for their injuries, all claimants would rather that they had never had their accident in the first place. Most will have concerns about making a claim for work accident compensation and whether it will affect their employer or job if they do.

Health and safety isn’t a bad thing

With this in mind, all employers should commence a process of reviewing the safety in their workplace, inspect working practices, machine safety and hold regular training and guidance sessions with their staff. Sadly, the phrase ‘health and safety’ is now used in a negative context. It’s almost as if health and safety is now a bad thing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As a result of the strict health and safety in the workplace regulations, laws and practices within the UK, the UK has one of the safest workplaces in the world. We know it can seem a waste of time to learn how to properly pick up a box or how to set up your workstation, but making sure things are done properly, safely and correctly will actually save a business money. Reducing accidents reduces cost and enables staff to keep working. Therefore, if you are an employer, or responsible for a team of staff reporting to you, taking a few moments to read this article and then put in to practice what is listed below, is a no brainer.

Avoid what you can miss. Don’t miss what you can avoid

Have you or has your business carried out a reasonable risk assessment for all activities involving staff members?  If you haven’t you should.  Make a list putting different activities in to groups of danger and then work from that.  Risk assessments should be checked annually and amended if new practices are in place.  They should be kept in a file, available for staff members and trainers to access and use.

From the assessment you do, you will be able to then identify areas of risk and take adequate precautions.  This might include providing staff that clean the floors of the workplace and make it wet, a hazard warning sign and train them to know that they are to place a hazard warning sign out for colleagues to see.  It could involve a dangerous piece of machinery, making sure that only trained staff use the machine that regular servicing of the machine and it’s safety equipment are carried out and records kept.

The above is an example of how you can help to reduce the risk of an accident happening in the workplace.  There are other things you can do beside, so below is a list to consider to help reduce accidents at work:

  • Carry out risk assessments and then write guidance policies for each task of work
  • Check that the policies and risk assessments are relevant and update if needs be annually.
  • Carry out daily audits of the workplace.  This could be a simple 1 page document listing each item a staff member should check in order to enable reporting of any potential hazards and enact repairs.  This should include emergency exits, potential hazards such as torn carpets etc.
  • Display hazard warning signage
  • Provide first aid trained staff and first aid equipment
  • Provide a reporting system for staff to highlight hazards or risks of injury
  • Ensure all staff are suitably trained for their role and machinery that they are tasked with using.
  • Provide basic inductions and training for ALL new staff members regarding the workplace, areas of risk etc.
  • Provide an accident book and ensure that staff understand how to access the same and make reports of accidents at work and injuries sustained at work to the right people.

If you are an employee and think that your company or employer is not doing all that they can to make your workplace as safe as possible, please show them the above.  It’s not exhaustive, but it should help your employer benchmark their work practices regarding handling an accident at work and a claim made for compensation.

If an employee is injured in an accident at work, they have legal rights, including being able to make a claim for injury compensation against their employer.  Solicitors will pursue claims for personal injury compensation after an accident at work on a no win no fee basis.  As an employer, you should refer any claim made to you to your employers liability insurance provider.  In the main, they will handle things for you much as the personal injury compensation solicitor will be handling things for the claimant.  You should be able to provide copies of machine servicing reports, procedure policies and accident book records.  One thing an employer should never do after an accident at work is to try to ignore the claim.

If you have been injured in an accident at work and want to make a claim for personal injury compensation, simply click here to make an online claim application.  We know your rights and can help you to get the justice you deserve.

Filed under Work Accidents

14 questions   ASK YOUR OWN

  1. Hello I work for a company 10 weeks ago we had a quiet night we were asked to clean the back wall down the supervisor gave us the cleaning solution and cleaning pads we started cleaning the wall down with 15mins my fingers were burning unfortunately they gave me the wrong solution they gave me crosive instead of course this caused the skin on my fingers to burn and blister and becoming really saw please advise where I stand

    1. This is a clear breach of your Health & Safety at work by your employer. The handling of chemicals and dangerous substances needs to be done under the COSHH guidelines. When COSHH guidelines are breached and conditions such as Industrial Dermatitis or Chemical Burns are sustained, the injured worker is very likely to succeed with a claim for compensation for such injuries. We have an interesting article about Industrial Dermatitis & Chemical Burn claims here.

      Clearly, your Manager would not have meant you any harm but that is not relevant as you have been caused injury and pain as a result of their negligence. You have what would appear to be a viable claim here and I would suggest that you get in touch with us on 01225430285 or email your contact details to us so that we can call you.

  2. I had an injury to my eye at work where a shard of stainless steel penetrated tge cornea of my eye deep enough to almost penetrate the lens.
    Since the injury I have required hospital treatment 4 times .
    I was wearing safety glasses when it happened but the working conditions was very poor I was on my back drilling upwards into a stainless steel floor fitted into a van.
    No ramps used.
    I have had time off work for treatment and resting . But I cannot afford the time off because the company will not pay full pay.
    Since returning to work I have not been asked for a fit to work certificate . But my main concern is I have been made to work on the same job that caused the injury! .
    I have also permanent partial vision loss from this incident.
    Where do I stand.
    Regards Gethin

    1. Gethin

      Thank you for sharing your workplace injury story. Injuries to the eye are very distressing and extremely uncomfortable and given that you mention an element of permanent damage to your eye sight, I can imagine that you are feeling angry and concerned about this incident and your future.

      Although your company have made sure that you wear eye protection, I think that you may still have cause to pursue a claim for compensation against the employer. Of course, we would need to know more before we could advise fully, but the working conditions you cite and the way that the employer was tasking you to perform the duties you were doing when you were injured gives some areas of interest for a possible claim for compensation.

      I suggest that you send your contact number to us via email to: [email protected] so that we can call you. We generally find that a quick telephone conversation enables us to ask the right questions that allows us to properly assess your claim and then make sure that we link you with the right specialist Solicitor to pursue this claim for you.

      We look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Hi Simon,

    I run a business that goes into schools and one of my employees got injured in the store cupboard at a school and is now unfit to work.
    Please can you advise me on the procedures I need to take?

    Kind regards,

    Ash Greenhalgh

    1. Dear Ashley

      Thank you for asking about your employees accident at work. Although your employee was not injured on your premises and most likely through no fault of your own (I do not see liability attaching to your business), this is an accident at work matter because the employee was injured whilst performing their duties.

      Your employee can look to seek compensation for their injuries and losses against the person(s) responsible for the incident in which they were injured. In this case, it would seem (at this stage) that the accident would be the responsibility of the school and that in turn will fall to the Local Educational Authority or Academy Trust that is responsible for the school.

      To protect your employees interests, they/you should ensure that a full report of the accident is made within the Schools accident book reporting system. If this was not done at the time, you could contact the school to ask them to do so now and you could also write to them/email to make a report of the incident. Any such report should state what happened, how it happened and what the injuries sustained were. You should also retain a copy of this report within your own accident book system.

      Your employee should also ensure that they seek medical treatment for the injuries they sustain in order that the severity of the injuries can be noted on their medical records.

      In terms of pursuing a claim for compensation against the relevant party (School), your employee should contact us for assistance. Please ask them to call us on 01225430285 or email us their contact number to: [email protected]

      Yours sincerely

      Ian

  4. Had an accident in work just over a week ago now , causing me to have a black eye and face being swollen on one side . All paper work has been done and sent of yet I still haven’t heard from my company , is this acceptable?

    1. Carol

      There is no obligation for the company to contact you, although it would be very reasonable to at least expect a call to check that you were ok and recovering properly.

      The employer should contact you if the accident was serious enough to warrant a health and safety investigation as your statement of events would be vital to the understanding of what happened.

      If you would like to pursue a claim for compensation for the injuries sustained, we would be very happy to help you with this. If so, please send your contact details to [email protected] and we’ll call you to offer advice and help you get your claim started.

      Yours sincerely
      Direct2Compensation

  5. One of our employees had an accident that occurred outside working hour and at his home.the employee had been working more than 15 years and having a good track record. the accident affected his quality of work at the company. in facts, he is financially heavy in debts and had taken up second job. as employer, what should i do?

    1. I don’t think you need to be concerned or do anything in particular. Perhaps you should record in writing the details you believe to be true – that the accident happened away from work at the employees house. You should record how you know this too.

    1. Simon

      Great question – thanks for asking it! The most common ‘worries’ we encounter with regards to the thoughts of people considering making a claim for compensation, are those that relate to claiming compensation after an accident at work.

      Understandably, people injured at work worry that making a claim against their employer could lead to an uncomfortable atmosphere at work or even that making a claim will cost them their job.

      To answer your question, the answer is no! Whether or not a claim for compensation after an accident at work succeeds or fails, an employer has no legal right to terminate the employment of the claimant on the basis of their making a claim. The only thing that could lead to an employer dismissing an employee after a claim was made would be if the claim was made on a fraudulent basis. Such an act would be both gross misconduct and also a criminal matter and in this case, an employer would have every right to terminate the employment of the individual concerned.

      However, in the case of a genuine accident at work, the employee is perfectly entitled to make a claim. The outcome of the claim will only go in their favour if the employer is found to have acted negligently and therefore responsible for the injuries.

      I hope that this helps you – if you would like to chat about this further or if you would like to start a claim for compensation please get in touch with me. You can email me at: [email protected] or call our office on 01225430285.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian

  6. My work are saying that me making a claim against them will cause me problems, can they use this as a way to sack me? I feel I’m being made to feel bad for something they could have avoided

    1. James

      Thank you for sharing your situation. There is a common concern held by nearly all of the accident at work claimants that contact us for help – that making a claim against their employer will cost them their job or jeopardise their colleagues future. Legally, any person who is the victim of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence has a right to pursue a claim for compensation. The outcome of the claim will depend on whether or not the organisation/business or people against whom you are making your claim are forced to accept liability.

      In your case, it is clear that your employer is putting pressure on you not to make a claim. This is not legal and they have no right to act in this way. I am not qualified to advise you on employment law, but if you have worked for the employer for the sufficient time to clear the legal requirement, they cannot sack or dismiss you simply because you have pursued a claim for compensation.

      However, some employers do act in an unscrupulous way and we often find that it is the smaller businesses that put heavy pressure on injured employees not to make a claim. We cannot guarantee that making a claim won’t cost you your job as we cannot be sure how your employer will behave.

      What I would say is that if you have been injured at work and required medical treatment, making a claim for accident at work compensation will allow you the prospect of obtaining a fair compensation settlement to cover the pain and discomfort caused to you by your injuries and would also allow you to reclaim any lost income by way of a special damages claim.

      Whether or not you opt to pursue a claim is down to you. However, if you are unable or have been unable to work due to the injuries you have sustained in the accident at work and your employer is not prepared to pay you your usual wages whilst you are unable to work, you will be heavily out of pocket. if this is the case, you may well have no choice other than to pursue a claim for workplace accident compensation. In any event, it sounds like you are not working for a decent responsible employer and I can’t see how they have any right to pressure you for loyalty if they act in the way that they have. Employers have employer liability insurance in place to cover events such as accidents at work and therefore any claim for compensation made by you would be against this insurance and not against the employer directly, so it would not harm the employer, business or colleagues in anyway if you opted to pursue a claim.

      I would suggest that you contact us so that we can discuss your situation in greater depth and get an understanding of what happened and who you work for. We can then advise as to whether or not we feel you have a valid claim for accident at work compensation and help you to understand your rights. You can make contact with us by calling 01225430285, re-visiting our website ‘start your claim page’ at: https://direct2compensation.co.uk/make-a-claim-for-compensation or by responding to the email that I have sent you.

      I hope that this information is helpful to you and we look forward to hearing from you and offering help.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian Morris

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