Anyone can have an accident and they can get hurt or seriously injured almost anywhere and under so many different circumstances, but getting hurt at work can be particularly distressing and sometimes avoidable all together.
If you suffer an injury whilst carrying out your duties as an employee, you need to know what your rights for redress are and how your employer should respond to the incident.
There are specialists around to help you if you need help getting the compensation you are due if the matter is not resolved satisfactorily. It also helps if you have some information and knowledge about what to do if you suffer an accident at work.
You are not alone
According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in just one 12 month period, over 1 million people suffer from a work-related illness and over 150 workers will actually die at work.
Over 200,000 workers will take a leave of absence for at least three days due to an injury sustained and on average, over 25 million working days are lost every year as a result of workplace injuries and work-related illness.
When you see these figures it is quite clear that accidents and injuries are quite commonplace, so what are your rights and what should you do if anything happens to you at work?
Your employer has a duty to record and report work-related accidents and illnesses that occur on their business premises.
In addition to this, your employer also has an obligation to carry out a risk assessment process, so that they can find out what happened and why an accident was possible, and they also need to take remedial action to avoid the incident happening again.
One aspect of the risk assessment should involve looking at how many trained first-aiders they need and making sure that there is sufficient first aid equipment facilities and equipment to be able to deal with a similar scenario in the future.
Some work environments will be more dangerous than others and although industrial accidents are more common because of the higher risks that workers are exposed to, there are still plenty of incidents in white-collar environments like offices, so the same level of diligence and care is required.
If you have an accident
The first and most important point about having an accident anywhere, is to try and stay calm and if you feel that you have suffered a physical injury, especially your back or neck, you should seek immediate medical help without potentially worsening your injuries by trying to move.
Your employer needs to be told immediately that you have suffered an injury and the details stshould be documented in the company accident book. Your employer is legally obliged to keep a note of any accidents and once you have been assessed by a medical professional, it can be decided whether you need further help or time off work to recover.
You are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay which is a basic amount, although some employers offer a supplementary sick pay scheme which will increase the amount paid to you while you are unable to work.
An employer has a duty of care to keep their staff safe and if you are concerned that safety procedures are not being observed or you do not feel they have treated you correctly after an accident, get some impartial advice.
Alex Hughes is a personnel manager. He likes to share what works best for him. You can find his posts on many health and workplace blog sites.