What to Do When You Have an Accident at Work
Laws

What to Do When You Have an Accident at Work?

When you are at work, your employer is obliged by law to protect you and to inform you of any health and safety issues that might affect you.

Accidents in the workplace are a considerable problem around the world. The British government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that during the period 2011 to 2012, 1.1 million employees were suffering from work-related illness and that 27 million working days had been lost due to workplace injuries and work-related illnesses.

In the 2010 – 2012 period, workplace ill health (excluding cancer) and workplace accidents cost the country an estimated £13.4 billion.

Your Employer’s Obligations

When you are at work, your employer is obliged by law to protect you and to inform you of any health and safety issues that might affect you. They are legally bound to report certain kinds of accidents and incidents in the workplace. They also have a duty to pay you sick pay, as well as give you time off if you need it because of an accident at work.

An employer is also obliged to report work-related accidents, dangerous incidents and diseases to the local authority’s Health and Safety department. This obligation stems from RIDDOR, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.

Occurrences that must be recorded in the accident book vary from people being passing out from exposure to gas, major injuries like a broken arm, dangerous incidents like a roof collapse, disease, death and any other injury that will prevent an employee from doing their usual job for more than three days.

Any injury that takes place at work, no matter how minor, must be recorded in your employer’s ‘accident book.’ All employers except very small companies should keep such a book. The accident book acts as a record, mainly for employees, of what happened in an accident. This is vital if you need to take time off work or claim compensation in the future. The accident book also helps employers to spot trends or nail down problems that can be solved to prevent future accidents.

All employers must also carry out risk assessments and take any action needed to ensure the safety of both employees and visitors. They should also ensure sufficient first-aiders, as well as first aid equipment and facilities. Employees are, in turn, required to take reasonable care of their own health and safety.

What To Do If You Have an Accident at Work

  1. Most importantly, record any injury you sustain in the accident book.
  2. If necessary, ensure that your employer has reported it to the HSE, or HSENI in Northern Ireland.
  3. Check your contract or statement of employment for details about sick or accident pay.
  4. Try to sort out any dispute with your employer that might arise.
  5. Tell your employer or employee safety representative of any health or safety problems at work and ask them to sort them out.
  6. If they don’t, call the HSE Infoline on 0845 345 0055 (open 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday), or HSENI in Northern Ireland on 029 9024 2349.