Accidents at work can have catastrophic and life changing impacts
Latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that in the year 2016/17 there were:
- 1.3 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
- 2,542 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2015)
- 137 workers killed at work
- 609,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey
- 70,116 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
- 31.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
- £14.9 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2015/16)
My colleague Louise Jukes has detailed steps that an employer should take to reduce the risk of injury. An employee also has a duty of care to reduce the risk of harm to themselves and to others within the workplace. If an employee has any health and safety issues or concerns, these should be raised to a manager, supervisor or a health and safety representative.
Accident at Work: What to do
If you are involved in an accident at work, this should be reported as soon as possible to your employer. This should be recorded in an accident report book. It is also sensible to make your own record of the accident noting the date, time, what happened and who was present. Depending on the severity of your injury, attend A&E or see your GP. If your injury persists you should continue to see your GP so that you are kept under review and undergo any necessary treatments to aid in your recovery. Your attendance at hospital and GP will be noted in your medical records and this provides evidence if you later decide that you wish to pursue a personal injury claim.
If there is any investigation at work or from the HSE you should co-operate with them. This will assist in identifying what went wrong and look at what actions that can be done in order to prevent another accident from happening again.
If you are off work following an accident you should receive statutory sick pay (SSP). Depending on your contract of employment, it is also possible to receive sick pay from your employers. If you suffer severe injuries, you may also be entitled to claim benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You should speak to your GP and employer when you feel ready to go back to work or if you are unsure. You can discuss when to go back to work, what you can or cannot do and whether you should go back on light duties. Your employer may also have to make reasonable adjustments to assist in your return to work.
If you wish to pursue a personal injury claim, you have 3 years from the date of accident in which to make a claim. Starting a claim sooner rather than later may be beneficial as recommended treatment(s) can be arranged to assist in recovery and interim payments can be arranged if there are financial difficulties.