Accidents At Work Can Have Catastrophic And Life Changing Impacts
Latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that in the year 2020/21 there were: 1.7 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, of which
- 822,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety
- 470,000 workers suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder
- 93,000 workers suffering from COVID-19 which they believe may have been from exposure to coronavirus at work
- 2,544 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2020)
- 123 workers killed at work (2021/22)
- 441,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
- 51,211 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
Duty Of Care Owed By An Employer
An employer is under a duty to take reasonable care of the health and safety of its employees and this duty of care extends to their employee’s physical and mental health.
If your employer fails to carry out their duty of care and you suffer injury or illness during the course of your work as a result of that failure, you are within your employment rights to make a claim against your employer for personal injury compensation.
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 and preferably also in writing so that there is a record of the events.
- The accident should be recorded in an accident report book as soon as possible.
- It is also sensible to make your own record of the accident noting the date, time, what happened and who was present.
- Take photographs of the accident location, the cause of the injury and your injuries if they are visible such as bruising or lacerations.
- Make a note of the names of any colleagues who may have witnessed the accident.
- Depending on the severity of your injury, attend A&E or see your GP. Your GP or the hospital staff will record details of the accident and your injuries in your medical records. It is important that this is recorded correctly as this provides evidence if you later decide that you wish to pursue a personal injury claim.
- 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.
- 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.
Will I Receive Any Pay Whilst Off Work?
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 advice on these benefits from the relevant agencies as soon as possible.
As well as submitting your claim to the employer’s Insurance company, we can under the 2015 Rehabilitation Code discuss with the Insurer to provide any rehabilitation treatment such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy etc. In claims involving serious injuries, we can also discuss with the Insurer to agree to the cost of carers where this may be required.
Once this is agreed by the Insurer, they will fund and instruct a suitable expert provider to carry out an Independent Initial Needs Assessment so that any treatment required can be provided. It is always worthwhile doing this if you have not recovered from your injuries.
Time Limits For Bringing A Personal Injury Claim
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.
I currently represent a client who suffered a back injury after she slipped on a wet floor at work. Liability was initially denied on the basis that the employer had taken all steps to prevent the accident. I successfully challenged the denial on the basis that the employer failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the wet floor and failed to reduce the risk of injury to our client and obtained a full admission of liability. My client made a personal decision to leave her employment and seek new employment which did not require long periods of standing due to the nature of her continuous back injury. My client however continues to receive chiropractic treatment which is being funded by the employer’s insurance company.