Any accident at work can be stressful, painful and challenging. During and shortly after an accident it will be difficult to get your head around things and do what needs to be done. If negligence by your employer was a contributory factor in the accident, however, you may be able to claim personal injury compensation.
The first thing you need to do, of course, is make sure you are looked after.
Here’s our quick guide on what to do have an accident at work
The only thing on your mind after an accident should be your own personal safety. Each workplace should have a first aid kit on site and someone designated to give first aid. If there is an injury, you may not realise how serious it is, so getting assessed by a medical professional is very important. If the injury is serious you need to get to accident and emergency as soon as possible or have someone call an ambulance.
Reporting the Accident
It’s essential that any accident is reported, and the details noted down and your co-workers informed. If you are going to make a claim for compensation later on, the first thing you need to ensure is that the accident is accurately recorded. The other reason for ensuring your co-workers know there has been an accident is to make sure they don’t suffer the same fate.
As soon as possible, you must inform your manager or the person in charge of you about the accident. If it is a serious accident, your workplace has a legal obligation to report it to the HSE or Health and Safety Executive. This is not about settling on blame but making sure that the facts of the incident are properly recorded.
The Accident Book
All businesses should have an accident recording process and you need to ensure that yours is added into the book or whatever method is used. Some businesses or managers may have targets on health and safety so might be reticent about putting a new entry in. If they refuse to put you in the ‘accident book’ make sure there is a paper trail by writing to the employer with details of the incident and ensure you take notes on what has happened and when.
While you may be in some pain and incapacitated, getting the evidence together about the accident is also important. If you can’t do it yourself, a colleague should write down the details and take any photos of the accident area and your injuries. The good news is that this is quite a simple process as many people now carry camera phones.
You can never have too much evidence when it comes to workplace accidents and, even if it doesn’t seem entirely relevant at the time, you should note everything down that you can.
Get Help from a Colleague
The truth is that you may be off work for a while following the accident, so you want to make sure that everything is recorded accurately by your employer. Getting someone reliable you work with to monitor what is going on should ensure that the facts of the accident are recorded correctly so that you are not, for instance, blamed for the accident when it was your employer’s fault.
Keep a Diary
Once you are able to, it is also important to keep a diary of what happens next, including how your injuries have impacted on your daily life. While you might go into hospital with a major injury that needs to be dealt with, there can also be minor problems that impact on your ability to return to work or lead a ‘normal’ life. Note it all down, even if it appears inconsequential at the time.
You should also keep a record of every expense and loss of revenue that you incur because of the accident and your injuries.
Visiting Your GP or Hospital
If the accident led to severe injuries, you will no doubt have been taken to accident and emergency If the accident didn’t warrant a trip to hospital, don’t forget to pay a visit to your GP and explain what happened and what the injury is.
Complaining to Your Employer
If the accident occurred because of a fault or negligence by your employer, you have the right to put in a grievance. It could be that machinery was faulty or the area you were working in was not protected, for example. Again, this is a way of getting things on record and making sure they are noted down properly. It can also protect you if you are subject to unfair dismissal because of the accident.
If you want more information that may be critical to any claim you make, you can ask for details from your employer through a subject access request.
Contacting a Solicitor
As soon as you are able to, and if you think you have a claim, you should the personal injury solicitors at Accinet to discuss what has happened to you in your workplace and how they can support you in making a claim for compensation.