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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 critical 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 accident at work compensation claims 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, we have some 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.
Risk assessments – how to avoid accidents in the first place
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 a hazard warning sign to staff that clean the floors, and training them to know that they are to place it near wet surfaces for colleagues to see. It could involve a dangerous piece of machinery, making sure that only trained staff use the machine and that regular servicing of the machine and its safety equipment are carried out and records kept.
There are many other things you can do to reduce the risk of an accident happening in the workplace:
- 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 annually if need be
- 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 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, call us on 01225 430285 or if you prefer, we can call you back. We know your rights and can help you to get the justice you deserve.