Ensuring a safe and healthy workplace should be the number one priority for all employers, especially considering how many people are injured each year during the course of their employment.
Last year, over 77,000 people were injured and 133 people were fatally injured at work. An appallingly high number of people who were injured just by doing their job.
Whether it’s reporting an accident at work or claiming compensation for a workplace injury, everyone can benefit from education about health and safety at work and the claims process.
Here are five essential facts about work accidents that may help you:
- Employers have a duty of care – under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers owe a duty of care to their employees to take “all steps which are reasonably possible” to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing.
The duty of care is quite wide-ranging but covers things like carrying out workplace risk assessments, providing adequate health and safety training and consulting employees on health and safety issues that concern them.
- Employers must record accidents at work – the RIDDOR regulations puts a duty on all employers to report certain workplace accidents.
Employers should keep a record of all RIDDOR reports made and, ideally, keep an accident book. Keeping such records is not just about keeping an audit trail of accidents that have occurred, but a way of informing an employer’s workplace health and safety strategy.
- Employers can’t sack you for making a claim – it’s a shame that many workers who are injured at work are afraid to bring a personal injury claim against their employer, citing fears that their job might be under threat if they proceed.
All employers should have appropriate insurance to cover the cost of any work accident claim and, under the 1996 Employment Rights Act, cannot dismiss an employee for bringing a compensation claim against them.
Even if your injuries prevent you from returning to your normal work duties, your employer must take reasonable steps to find you alternative duties that are suitable.
- PPE is crucial to minimising the most common work accidents – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can include safety helmets, high-visibility jackets, breathing apparatus and protective footwear and gloves, among other things.
The PPE at Work Regulations 1992 require employers to provide PPE to certain workers, ensure that all equipment is fit for purpose and that employees are properly trained in its use.
PPE is essential in many dangerous occupations such as building and construction, and many other industries where employees are at risk of injury at work.
- Employees have the right to claim accident at work compensation – a 2014 YouGov report found that only a quarter of all employees injured at work had started a personal injury claim.
This could be due to a lack of awareness among workers who have been injured that they have every right to claim compensation for their injuries.
The first step for anyone considering a claim should be to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer specialising in accidents at work. You can even start a work accident compensation claim online – just complete a few basic details and one of our expert lawyers will call you back to discuss your claim.
At Slater and Gordon, our expert work accident solicitors are experts the field of employer’s liability. They have many years’ experience in helping workers claim compensation for all types of accidents at work – from slips and trips to falls from height and serious injuries that have had life-changing consequences.
Whether you have sustained a minor injury at work, or if your injuries are likely to have a major impact on your life, we can help the claims process go smoothly for you. We also provide specialist advice on employment law and welfare benefits, so we can help with every aspect of your claim.
For a free consultation, call us on freephone 0800 916 9046. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.