Very few people ever experience accidents at work. The health and well-being of workers is taken far more seriously today compared to the distant past. This is mainly due to the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which saw a huge drop in the number of accidents and illnesses that were related to work accidents and working conditions. Your employer’s responsibilities today are far-reaching compared to decades ago, and that is a good thing for you and your health.
Of course, we realise you might be reading this article precisely because you were involved in an accident at work. Any accident can result in one or more injuries, and there is no way of knowing how serious those injuries could be. Even if you make a full recovery, it may take time to achieve that recovery. Additionally, you might be restricted from living your normal life until you do recover, and that could be through no fault of your own.
What are your employer’s responsibilities?
Your employer’s responsibilities are wide-ranging, but the main element is to ensure they protect the health, safety, and welfare of everyone who works for them (as well as others who might encounter the business in some way). The HSE website points out the need to control risk, as mentioned in the health and safety laws. There are some indications below of your employer’s responsibilities, no matter what job or industry you are in, or which workplace you work in.
- Accident books – every employer must have an accident book, and details of any accident must be recorded in it. If you are injured or have an accident (even without injury, as something may be discovered to be amiss later), you should always report it and ensure it is written in the accident book.
- Your employer must also have liability insurance to cover anything that happens, in case you seek compensation for what happened. The insurance will cover the outcome of any claim you or someone else may make.
- Responsibilities also include the provision of first aid equipment and someone who oversees this. The provision of ample first aiders for the size of the business is also a priority.
- Your employer must also adhere to RIDDOR – the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. Deaths, near-misses, and specified serious injuries must be reported in accordance with these regulations.
What about taking time off work after being involved in a work accident?
This is something many people are concerned about. However, you should not be at risk of losing out financially, or of losing your job, because of being injured in a work-based accident that was not your fault. You must be allowed to seek medical treatment if required, if first aid is not sufficient, and you must receive appropriate time off to recover from your injuries. Additionally, statutory sick pay should be paid to you, or sick pay as stated in your contract of employment.
More about employer negligence
When you go to work, you expect to do your job safely, and without any risk of injury. We’ve spoken about your employer’s responsibilities already, but we could also mention the importance of their duty of care towards their employees. A duty of care means they must take all possible steps to ensure the workplace is safe, and that there are no risks, hazards, or other issues that could potentially lead to injury or illness for any employee. Accidents can still happen, of course, but they should be minimised as much as possible. Sometimes, things do happen that could never have been foreseen or prevented, but most accidents in the workplace are entirely preventable.
If you have been injured while at work, your priority will be to report what happened. Do this immediately, and seek first aid if you need it. However, if you feel you are fine but later develop problems, pain, or other issues, visit your GP for a check-up. If you reported the incident and made sure it was written in the accident book, your employer will have a record that could help you make a compensation claim if you later decide this is a possibility.
It can be difficult to know whether you have injuries that could potentially be caused by negligence in the workplace. Sometimes, it may be perfectly clear this is the case, and that your employer’s responsibilities were not met in some way. For example, if you asked for the necessary training to ensure you were protected against manual handling injuries, and you never received it, this could well be negligent of your employer. In this case, your employer’s responsibilities would fall under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as well as the general health and safety regulations.
How can you find out for certain whether you can claim?
It isn’t always easy to see whether you can make a claim for compensation if you are hurt at work. However, since most accidents are preventable, and your employer must adhere to health and safety regulations, there is a chance they may have been potentially negligent. To know for sure, it is best to speak with a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling similar claims for other people. They will know what to look for, and how to determine whether a no-win, no-fee claim might work out in your favour.
To learn more, simply phone Accident Advice Helpline today on 0800 689 0500, to find out whether you do have a right to claim for your injuries. You can alternatively use your mobile to ring us on 0333 500 0993. Our online test also provides answers within 30 seconds, so it is easy to use our services. Call now to discover whether you have a chance to make a claim, and find out why others have called us already. Your employer’s responsibilities are there to be adhered to, to keep you safe from any harm.
Date Published: December 15, 2013
Author: David Brown