Any accident in the workplace can be a painful and stressful time. It could mean a prolonged time off work and the worry about a drop in household income. At the time of an accident – however large or small – knowing the company and legal guidelines is often not at the forefront of the mind of the employee. They may concentrate on wanting to recover and so sometimes employers may not be as strict as they should be in any follow up actions.
Employees are protected at work through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). There are clear guidelines which every employer must follow to ensure the safety and well-being of their staff both with regards to working conditions and in the aftermath of an accident.
After an accident, it must be reported to the employer as soon as possible. They must record the details in a company Accident Book. If there is no book, the details must be written down, sent to a senior manager and a copy kept by the employee.
Visit your doctor. Even if you don’t think your injuries are particularly serious, they can give you an examination and will record the details on your file. This means that if you need to refer back to them in the future you can present the evidence of your GP of the situation at the time you visited.
The next step is to register the accident as an industrial injury with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Again, you may not feel the injuries warrant reporting but they will give you a form to complete. This will then be filed as evidence for the future if the accident is related to a disability or health issue later in life.
Ensure you receive the correct salary or benefits if you are off sick whilst injured. You should receive Statutory Sick Pay as a minimum and you may be able to claim benefits to boost income whilst you are not at work.
There may be a case for you to claim compensation from your employer for their negligence. This could be take a long time to bring to resolution but if you feel your employer has not provided you with a safe workplace, take advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau, your union or a solicitor who specialises in accidents in the workplace.
Going to work should mean that you are protected from near misses, incidents and accidents. If you are unfortunate enough to sustain an injury, never ignore it or shrug it off. This could mean a colleague suffers the same – or worse – than you. Report what has happened and ensure your employer follows the rules. Don’t agree to sign anything which negates any blame on their behalf and keep notes and even photographs just in case they are needed. Your safety is important so ensure you look after yourself.