Unfortunately, many accidents happen at work every year, causing injuries and illnesses that can have a detrimental physical, emotional and financial effect on workers and their families. The latest statistics for 2013/2014 from the Health and Safety Executive show that in Great Britain 28.2 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and injury.
Injuries at work can take on many guises. Physical injuries incurred at a construction or factory site might be the image that immediately springs to mind, but people can suffer greatly from the effects of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) or a simple slip on a wet floor. Other particularly common injuries at work include manual handling injuries as a result of poor lifting techniques or falling items.
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident at work, you may be eligible for compensation. However, there are a few things to consider in the immediate aftermath, in order to support a potential claim:
1. Seek medical attention.
It is very important to seek medical attention as soon as possible following an accident at work whether this involves calling an ambulance for a visit to A&E or a trip to the GP via your own personal transport. Even if you initially feel fine, there is always the possibility you have caused more damage than you think and it is best to err on the side of caution.
From a legal point of view, it is important to obtain a professional diagnosis or opinion regarding likely injuries as a result of your accident, in order to support your claim.
2. Report the incident.
All workplaces, unless they are particularly small, are required to have an accident book. This is the opportunity for you to record the incident as it happened, while the details are still fresh in your mind. Be specific and, if possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident. Only sign the account when you are confident the events have been correctly noted and make a copy for your own records.
As well as helping to support your claim, an accurate record of events will help your employer ensure that this sort of accident does not happen again.
3. Identify witnesses.
If possible, make a note of the names and contact details of supporting witnesses. Evidence from witnesses can provide valuable support to a claim for compensation. As well as providing accounts of the accident, witnesses can be called upon for evidence as to your injuries or the scene of the incident.
4. Consider who was at fault.
Under UK law, employers and businesses are responsible for the safety and welfare of not only staff, but visitors to their premises. If you feel your employers failed to fulfil these duties, you may well be entitled to compensation. However, even if you contributed to your own accident at work, you may still be able to make a claim if your employer can be proved to have played a part in your injury.
If you have experienced an accident at work, it is always advisable to seek guidance from a legal professional. To learn more about your rights and find out if you may have a claim, contact us now.