If you have been injured at work or witness someone else being injured, the steps you take as soon as the accident occurs may determine your recovery (or theirs), and whether compensation can be claimed. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), around 621,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury at work in 2015/16 according to self-reports. Of these injuries:
- 200,000 led to the employee taking more than three days off work; of which
- 152,000 led to over seven days absence .
The main type of non-fatal work injuries were caused by:
- lifting or carrying (20%)
- slipping or tripping (19%)
- being struck by a moving object (10%)
If you are unfortunate enough to be injured at work or witness an injury occurring, follow the steps outlined below.
The priority is the safety of yourself and others
The safety of yourself, your co-workers and the public must be the priority in an accident situation. If the incident involves electricity, DO NOT TOUCH THE PERSON. Isolate the victim (or yourself) from the current by turning off the mains or using a non-conductive material such as wood or plastic to push the person away from the electric current. If you or the victim has been hit by a moving vehicle, turn off the engine and knock the vehicle out of gear before taking further action. In cases of slips or trips, warn anyone coming to your aid that the surface around you may be uneven or slick.
Seek medical attention
Medical reports will become extremely important if you choose to claim compensation. Therefore, even if the injury initially seems mild, have yourself examined by a doctor and ask for a copy of the notes. Report the accident in the correct manner.
Any injury that occurs in the workplace should be recorded in an accident book. It is compulsory for most employers to have an accident book, not only to provide a record of the incident in case a claim for compensation is made but to help your employer understand risks in their operation and make plans to mitigate and manage them. If the injury is of a certain type or is serious in nature, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) the accident must be reported to the HSE. This can be done online via their website or by telephone.
Types of incidents which will trigger a RIDDOR reporting requirement include:
- ‘specified injuries’ which includes – most fractures, amputations, loss or reduction of sight, crush injuries causing organ damage, serious burns, scalping, unconsciousness caused by head trauma or asphyxiation, any injury that requires the victim to be resuscitated or hospitalised for 24 hours or more
- accidents which result in the employee being away from work or unable to perform their normal work duties for more than seven consecutive days
- accidents involving a member of the public
Your employer is responsible for making a RIDDOR report, but it is a good idea to ensure they have done so correctly.
Check your sick pay entitlement
If you need time off work to recover from your injury, check your employment contract to see if you are entitled to sick pay. If your employment contract is silent on the matter, you will be entitled to statutory sick pay. At the time of writing, statutory sick pay is £89.35 per week and payable for up to 28 weeks.
Talk to a personal injury solicitor about claiming compensation
If you believe your accident was caused because of negligence on your employer’s part, you may be able to claim compensation. To make a claim, you need to instruct an experienced personal injury solicitor. They will talk to you and any witnesses about how the accident occurred and examine your employer’s health and safety procedures and police reports (if applicable) to establish if negligence occurred. They will then scrutinise your medical reports and obtain expert opinion (if required) to show your employers’ negligent act or omission resulted in you suffering harm. Most personal injury solicitors offer ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements. This means if your claim for compensation is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay legal fees (although you may have to pay any expenses relating to your case). It is important to remember most personal injury claims are settled outside of court, so it unlikely you will have to endure the stress of attending a trial.
An accident at work can result in loss of income and months of painful rehabilitation. Claiming compensation can help pay the bills while you are recovering, and fund private treatment if what you require is not available on the NHS in your area. At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims. If you have suffered a workplace injury and would like a free claim assessment, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.