What To Do in the Event of a Workplace Accident?

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Lady suffering from workplace accident.
LPC & GDL Matthew Shiels
Legally reviewed by: LPC & GDL Matthew Shiels In: Personal Injury

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently reported that 571,000 workers sustained a non-fatal workplace accident injury according to reports from Labour Force Survey. Slips, trips, and falls remain the highest non-fatal injury at 32%. This is followed by lifting or carrying at 17%, struck by a moving object at 11%, falls from a height at 8%, and acts of violence at 8%. Furthermore, 135 workers were killed because of a workplace accident in 2022/2023. These figures are only for workplace injuries. View the full report breakdown here, covering work-related mental health, ill-health, musculoskeletal disorders, and occupational lung disease.

It’s vital for both employers and employees to understand what standards should be upheld to prevent a workplace accident and what to do if an accident occurs.

With years of experience supporting clients who have suffered from serious workplace injury, our team of personal injury solicitors are confident they can help you claim the compensation you deserve.

Read more about our personal injury team.

What is a Workplace Accident?

If an employee becomes injured while performing their job’s duties, this is considered as a workplace accident. The injury can be physical or mental and is not just attributed to high-risk industries. The workplace accident can either occur on the work premises or if the worker is carrying out work elsewhere off the company grounds.

Your employer has a duty to protect their employees, informing them of any health and safety issues that might affect them. They must also report certain accidents and incidents, pay their employees sick pay, and give you time off because of an accident at work should it be needed.

Furthermore, your employer must report serious work-related accidents, disease, and dangerous incidents to the HSE department at your local. They must report:

  • Deaths
  • Major injuries
  • Dangerous incidents like the collapse of scaffolding, people overcome by gas.
  • Any other injury that stops an employee from doing their normal work for more than three days
  • Disease

How to Prevent a Workplace Accident

In 2022 to 2023, 135 workers were killed by workplace injury and a further 571,000 sustained a non-fatal injury.  Often these workplace accidents are preventable by changing workplace culture and placing priority on health and safety.

The following are considerations for an employer, to alleviate accidents in the workplace.

Regular risk assessments and screenings

It’s vital for an employer to carry out regular risk assessments to identify potential health hazards and causes of injury. Employers should develop specific strategy for each identified risk, involving employees in the process. Employers should always prioritise employee well-being by ensuring an employee’s physical and mental fitness for a specific job requirement. For example, an employer an implementing regular physical for labour-intensive positions to safeguard employee health.

Additionally, employers should record and reassess hazards regularly, especially when hiring new staff or rearranging equipment.

Proper signage

Display safety procedure reminders through signage in common areas. Reinforce safety practices with visible reminders, especially in spaces where specific procedures should be followed.

Adequate lighting

Provide ample lighting in workspaces and common areas. Ensure sufficient natural and artificial light to enhance visibility, both inside and outside the workplace.

Ensure vehicles are maintained

Regularly maintain company vehicles to ensure safety. Well-maintained vehicles are not only cost-efficient but also safer for employees. Ensure workers are knowledgeable about vehicle operations to prevent accidents.

Keep workplaces clean and walkways clear

Keep workspaces clean and organised to minimise hazards. Enforce best practices, such as proper cable management, equipment storage, and prompt clean-up of spills.

Ensure employees are dressed appropriately for their job role

Enforce appropriate dress codes based on job roles. Ensure employees dress appropriately for their roles, especially in situations where specific attire is crucial for safety.

Discourage workers taking shortcuts.

Discourage employees from taking shortcuts to prevent accidents. Emphasise the importance of following safety procedures and discourage shortcuts, as they pose risks ranging from minor injuries to severe incidents.

Hire qualified workers

Ensure the qualification of hired workers for specific roles. Verify licenses, degrees, and practical experience to minimise safety risks associated with unqualified personnel.

Prevent Understaffing

Maintain an adequate workforce to prevent accidents and burnout. Address workload strains by hiring more staff when necessary to reduce the risk of accidents.

Provide regular safety training

Emphasise safety and wellness through ongoing training. Train employees on relevant health and safety instructions, updating them as needed based on risk assessments. Wellness programs can enhance employee health, leading to increased productivity.

Provide adequate protective equipment

Supply employees with necessary protective equipment. Make it a companywide requirement to provide safety gear for all employees. Regularly inspect and replace personal protective equipment as needed.

What To Do When a Workplace Accident Happens?

In the unfortunate event of a workplace accident, a fast and effective response is crucial. The following guidelines outline the immediate actions to be taken, stressing the importance of promptly tending to the injured, assessing the need for medical treatment, investigating the circumstances, and facilitating workers’ compensation procedures.

An employer’s priority should be to ensure the well-being of their employees while highlighting the significance of preventive measures to reduce the risk of future incidents.

Act Fast in the Event of a Workplace Accident

Attend to the injured employee immediately, assess their needs, and report the workplace accident. If a manager is unavailable, inform leadership, ensuring the accident has been documented in the company’s accident records.

Address Potential Injuries

Utilise the company’s first aid kit for minor injuries. It’s important to still monitor minor injuries as they may escalate. If you are uncertain of the injury, seek a full assessment from a qualified on-site medical professional or arrange transport to the hospital, especially in the case of a head injury.

Investigate the Incident and Whether You Need to Revise Safety Guidelines

After tending to the injured employee, assess the accident site making sure to eliminate any immediate dangers, and conduct a thorough risk assessment. Investigate the accident’s root causes, considering missed hazards or insufficient training. Update safety guidelines to prevent future workplace accidents.

How to Make a Claim for a Workplace Accident?

Workplace accidents can have big consequences for employees, both physically, mentally, and financially. In the UK, individuals who experience a workplace injury have the right to seek compensation.

If you are wishing to make a claim, you firstly need to ensure the accident is reported in the company’s accident book.

If the injury requires medical treatment, it’s vital to seek professional care, making sure you retain all relevant medical records.

Furthermore, if your manager does not already know, you will need to inform them about the accident, making sure to provide detailed information about the accident and any injuries.

Make sure you compile any evidence of the accident such as photographs of the scene, witness statements, and any medical documentation. Additionally, keep a comprehensive record of the accident, noting dates, times, and circumstances surrounding the incident.

If you are a member of a trade union, seek guidance and support from your union representative.

Reach out to a personal injury solicitor who specialises in workplace accidents for expert advice. Your solicitor will help you to submit a compensation claim to your employer’s insurance company, outlining the accident’s details, your injuries, and their impact on your life.

With your solicitor, you will negotiate a settlement with the insurance company through your solicitor. If an agreement is not reached, file a claim with the Compensation Recovery Unit.

During your claim you may be required to attend medical assessments arranged by the insurance company to assess the extent of your injuries.

In the event of a successful claim, you will receive compensation for the injuries and losses resulting from the workplace accident.

Remember that time limits apply to personal injury claims. Therefore, getting fast legal advice essential. By seeking compensation, employees can address the consequences of workplace accidents and move towards

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