Employees do not go to work to be involved in an accident and suffer injury, yet thousands of workers are injured at work each year as a consequence of being involved in an accident that is not their fault.
The Health and Safety Executive report that the many accidents are caused by workers who are asked or expected to lift heavy and awkward loads, including the lifting and transferring of patients in hospital or residents in nursing homes.
Many injuries are caused as a consequence of workers slipping or tripping on work surfaces or corridors because inappropriate cleaning has taken place, or passages are left with potholes or ridges containing tripping hazards. Similarly, many workers are injured when working at height because their employer has failed to put appropriate safeguards in place.
If you’ve been injured in an accident at work, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries and the financial damage you have suffered as a result.
Duty of Care
In England & Wales, employers have a ‘duty of care’ towards their employees. This means that an employer has a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their staff. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as providing employees with a safe place of work, a safe system to carry out the work, well maintained plant and equipment including the provision of guards for moving machine parts, correct training and protective equipment.
There are in addition various legal obligations that employers have to comply with which are set out in a set of regulations known as ‘The Six Pack’. These regulations include the Manual Handling Regulations, Workplace Regulations and Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, among others. The regulations set out in detail what steps an employer has to take to safeguard their employees, the most important of which is to undertake a risk assessment where there is a risk that the employee might be injured as a consequence of the work they are doing. Breach of these regulations can give rise to criminal sanctions and can also be evidence of the employer behaving negligently and in breach of their duty of care to their employee.
So if you’re involved in an accident at work in which you are injured, it could be that your employer failed to meet their duty of care. This may not be immediately obvious, but a Personal Injury Solicitor will be able to say whether your employer has failed to meet their duty of care towards you. If so, you will be legally entitled to pursue a work accident claim.
Types of Work Accident Claims
There are many different types of work accident claim. For example, you may have been injured due to:
- A slip, trip or fall
- Lifting / manual handling of objects or people
- A fall from height
- Machinery or equipment
- A lack of training
- A lack of protective equipment
- Dangerous practices
- Falling objects
- Toxic substances
- The actions of co-workers
What to Do after a Work Accident
Whatever the circumstances of your accident, if you believe that you have been injured at work through no fault of your own, you should take the following steps:
- As soon as possible after the accident, ask your supervisor or manager to have the incident recorded in the organisation’s Accident Book.
- If your workplace doesn’t have an Accident Book, write a brief summary of what happened, when and where the incident took place and describe your injuries. Send a copy to your employer, keeping a copy for yourself.
- Gather evidence about the accident, such as taking photographs of the area, and taking the names and contact details of any witnesses.
- Speak to a Personal Injury Solicitor to find out whether you have been wrongfully injured at work.
Making a Work Accident Claim
If you’re able to make an accident at work claim, you might be worried about any implications. For example, you might be concerned that your employer could dismiss you or treat you unfavourably. However, your employer isn’t allowed to do this, and if you are treated poorly because you’re making a claim, you need to tell your Personal Injury Solicitor as soon as possible.