In a perfect world, no one would ever have to worry about workplace injuries because there would never be any accidents or mistakes. Everything would go according to plan and every job would be risk-free. Unfortunately, we’re not living in a perfect world and workplace injuries are not uncommon. Your employer is legally responsible for your safety while you are on the job. Regardless of where you are, at the office or out on location, your employer has to take the necessary precautions to keep you safe. The necessary precautions are described in the official health and safety guidelines. Every company that employs people has to follow them or they can be prosecuted.
Despite these measures, every job comes with a set of risks and some jobs are more dangerous than others. The guidelines serve to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries but they cannot eliminate them. Since there’s always the possibility of an accident or an injury, it’s best to be prepared so you know what to do to mitigate the potential consequences.
Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may be able to receive compensation by filing a workplace injury claim. As an employee, you are protected by employment law which holds your employer responsible for your health and safety, no matter what kind of job you have or the environment you work in. Your employer must keep you informed of any issues that might put you in danger and provide you with free training and personal protective equipment.
If you are injured on the job, you have the following rights:
All employers have a duty to protect their employees and ensure that they receive the necessary training on how to deal with health and safety issues that might arise. If an accident occurs, they must report it, provide time off and pay sick pay.
If you have an accident, suffer an injury or your job is adversely affecting your health in some way, you are entitled to make a workplace injury claim. If your injury or illness was caused by your employer’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. In this context, the term “injury” refers to both physical and psychological injuries. Psychological injuries can, for instance, result from stress, working in unsafe conditions, having an accident or workplace bullying.
The government has established a set of official health and safety regulations. It’s your employer’s legal duty to ensure that they are enforced. The majority of workplace accidents or injuries arise as a result of these regulations not being enforced and if that’s the case, the employer is prosecuted for breaching their legal duties. Your employer also has to make sure that the work environment is free of any potential hazards through regular inspections to assess the risks. These inspections and their findings need to be documented along with the remedial actions that were taken. Remedial actions can include buying equipment that can perform strenuous tasks instead of employees that might get injured, assigning first aiders and providing training.
Steps To Take After a Workplace Accident
The first thing you need to do after a workplace accident is to get medical care. Legislation requires every workplace to have a first aid kit and assigned first aiders. The first person that will attend to our injuries will be the first aider.
Obviously, although they’ve had specialized training, they are not medical professionals so you need to have a doctor take a look at your injuries ASAP. You can visit your GP or go to the emergency section of the nearest medical facility.
You might think that your injuries are not that serious but that could be because adrenaline lowers your body’s ability to feel pain. Seemingly minor injuries can have severe consequences when not properly handled. It’s always best to get the opinion of a doctor.
This also has legal benefits since it will show that you followed procedure and got treatment as prescribed by a medical professional. If later on you decide to make a compensation claim, your medical file will show that you followed the steps necessary to recover.
After you’ve gotten checked by a doctor and it’s safe, the next step is to report your accident to your supervisor or manager. If you can’t do this because you’ve been hospitalized, you can have someone from your company do it for you. Businesses with more than ten employees are required to have an accident book. An accident book is a formal document where the details of workplace health and safety incidents are recorded. They’re common even in businesses with fewer than ten employees.
If your company does not have one, write an email or a letter to your supervisor or manager describing the circumstances of your accident, but make sure you have proof that you followed procedure and notified them. Your employer is also obligated to report certain types of accidents and injuries to the Health and Safety Executive as per RIDDOR - Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
It’s best to not discuss or speculate on who is to blame for the accident either in written form when you are reporting the accident or verbally if you talk to your supervisor or manager. Fault will be determined after investigations by an objective party with the required legal expertise. You don’t need to convince your company of anything. Instead, it would be better to contact your trade union if you are a member of one since they will be able to help you.
Even after you’ve seen a doctor about your injuries, you’ll probably need to make several appointments so they can make sure you’re healing well. If you need to, you can take time off to recover because, as we’ve mentioned before, you are entitled to statutory sick pay. In the unfortunate event that your injuries are more serious and have long-term implications, then you’ll want to look into industrial disablement benefits.
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