Work Related Injuries
Your overall safety in the workplace is your company’s responsibility and one of the first things you should be aware of is your specific company’s health and safety policy. This doesn’t just apply to employees who work in professions that have a higher risk, like warehouses, factories and engineers; a health and safety policy should cover all sectors and working environments.
Accidents do happen though and this is where dealing with an accident in a professional manner is of the uppermost importance. The steps you should take in the eventuality of an accident in the workplace should be clearly listed and understand throughout your “introduction pack” or similar. If you company has failed to protect you against injury, then there are further steps you can take in terms of legal advice and claiming for loss of earnings etc.
What constitutes as a work related injury
Work related injuries are quite literally any injury at work or illness that happens whilst you are in your place of work, or travelling for work purposes. The general types of work related injuries are caused by repetitive movements, heavy lifting, accidental injury caused by machinery and trips/falls. All eventualities of these forms of injuries should be covered by your employers health and safety policies, from a cut finger to a fatality, having all incidents recorded will help with any cases brought forward.
What your employees should have in place in terms of covering the basic
Depending on your sector/industry, there are certain areas that must be covered legally by your company. These include;
- Make sure that machinery is safe and regularly maintained this includes all electronics.
- To keep irritants (dust, fumes and noise) at a minimum whilst employees are on the premises.
- Provide protective clothing when and if necessary.
- Report certain diseases and injuries to the relevant authorities.
- To maintain adequate first aid kits and injury books accessible to all staff
- Access risks regularly, including fire and flood.
How to deal with an accident professionally
If you have an accident in work the first thing to do is report it. This must be done straight away and make sure that all the details are recorded in an accident book. Making sure this is done straight away will make sure that nothing is missed, as more time goes by the more likely you are to forget the specifics of an accident. If you cannot record the specifics yourself, then make sure that you get someone to do so on your behalf and get a copy of the details for yourself.
Whatever the accident you should seek some form of medical advice. Whether this is a trip to your GP or to be assessed by a trained first aid individual, this will give you the knowledge you need to either make a claim or treat your injury. If you have sustained a substantial injury that requires a period of time away from work, then you need to keep a copy of your doctors sick note and contact the Department For Work and Pensions. You can then fill in the DWP’s forms which will help you in the event that you need to make a claim now or in the future. The Citizens Advice Bureau can help with this and/or finding the right legal representation for you if required. You may even consider contacting accident at work solicitors for some sound legal advice.
In this age of austerity, one thing that concerns employees who have an accident or illness due to their work, is the financial strain this can pose. The first thing to make sure you do is to gain a doctors certificate. This will tell you how long you need to be off work for and a date for returning to work. Whilst you are away from work you should receive Statutory Sick Pay, you may get more than this if your employer covers sickness with pay schemes which will be stated in your contract. If you illness/injury requires you to have a significant length of time off work, then you may wish to look at compensation
Claiming compensation can be a lengthy process and you will need to seek legal advice, but it is also necessary if the accident should never have happened or if you are left unable to work in any way.