By law, employers must take all steps necessary to provide a safe workplace for their employees.
To be fair, most companies do take this responsibility seriously. To protect their workers, good businesses make sure all machinery is regularly checked and serviced, that staff are properly trained in its use and are told of any dangers in the workplace, even if they seem obvious. Something that is obvious to an experienced person might not be to a new worker or apprentice.
Even simple acts like putting warning cones around water spills or marking sharp edged shelving can save a lot of pain and time off work. If you see anything that you think may cause injury to yourself or a fellow worker, you should let your supervisor know immediately.
There’s a whole industry built on preventing accidents in work places, and however much some people may jeer at the “elf and safety” brigade, the truth is they make the world a safer place. Which is good.
However, often, even in the best-run businesses, things can go wrong. If you have been injured at work then you could be eligible for compensation.
It’s important that, if you are injured, you make a claim. This isn’t just to compensate you for your injury, but also to make sure the cause of the accident is noted and fixed. This will guarantee that there is no repeat of the accident and that the risk of further injury is removed.
If you are injured you may not know what to do next. You may be worried about being treated badly or even being sacked by your boss if you do make an accident claim.
This can’t happen. It is illegal for an employer to act in such a way, and you could take further action against him if he does. It would be considered as ‘workplace discrimination’ or ‘unfair dismissal’.
There are many types of workplace injuries that can result in compensation claims. Often these claims come from people working in a factory, restaurant, office or shop but the laws apply to equally anyone injured while working. For example, if your job involves driving a car, bus, tractor or truck and it hasn’t been properly maintained, your employer may be liable for any accident or injury that happens as a result.
Your employer is legally required to report accidents that result in death, serious injury, dangerous incidents, or that result in more than five days off work to the Health and Safety Department of your Local Authority. If you do suffer any injuries it’s important that you make sure this has been done.
All work related injuries, whether serious or minor, must be recorded in your employer’s ‘Accident Book’, which every company (except really small ones) must keep.
Following an accident you have up to three years to make a compensation claim. You will usually need a lawyer, ideally one who specialises in worker’s injury claims, to represent you.
These are the steps you take if you are injured at work: 1. Make sure the accident was entered into the ‘Accident Book’. 2. Make sure the injury was reported to the appropriate authority. 3. Check your employment contract or agreement. 4. Try to resolve any dispute with your employer before taking any other action. 5. Even injuries that don’t appear immediately to be serious should be examined by your doctor so details can be kept for future action, if necessary.
And don’t forget you have up to three years to consult a lawyer and to seek compensation. After that it might be too late.