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What happens if you have an accident at work?

Keeping safe at work is easier in some industries than in others. Office-based workers, for example, are less likely to encounter the number of risks faced by construction workers. This is because construction workers are exposed to hazards that come with working at a height, such as falling objects and injuries from using heavy-duty equipment. 

However, there are risks that are common in most industries and sectors, such as slips, trips and falls. These types of accidents can happen in any setting. Additionally, wider events such as extreme weather can also impact on employee health. 

Whatever your role, if you experience an accident while you’re at work there’s a procedure you’ll have to follow. Here’s a look at what happens and what to do next. 

Before your accident

It’s worth being aware of any procedures in place at the company you work for. When you start a new role, you might be presented with the latest health and safety procedures that are in place. Medical settings, for instance, had to rapidly update their approach to PPE during the pandemic. But even offices will have procedures and policies to help prevent accidents and to help workers follow the official channels if someone is hurt. 

After your accident

  1. While you’re still at work

There are certain steps to follow, whatever sector you work in. The main one is to report the accident to your employer. If you have an accident at work, you need to report this as soon as it happens to your manager or designated person. If you work with 10 or more people, you might also be expected to report it in the accident book. 

It’s also a good idea to take photos of your injury and whatever caused your accident. This can be used as evidence if you need it later down the line or your boss might need it in order to make changes to the way the company approaches hazards. 

Additionally, it can be helpful to have contact details for anyone who witnessed your accident. You might need their account of what they saw at some point. If you can, ask them to make notes and share them with you. 

While the accident is fresh in your mind, make your own notes as soon as you can. Drawings could also be helpful here.

  1. Seeing a doctor

Arrange to see a doctor as soon as you can after your accident at work. It’s likely you’re in pain so they can help provide treatment and will offer further examinations, x-rays and tests if you need them. 

Should you need urgent medical attention, contact the emergency services and bring someone you trust with you if possible.

  1. Understand your rights

There are some important things to be aware of when you have an accident at work. 

First, who’s at fault? If your employer can prove that the accident was completely your fault, they are legally allowed to fire you because you were negligent. 

If the accident was partly your fault but also down to your employer’s negligence and they dismiss you, you might be able to challenge the decision made to fire you. 

If you were not at fault for the accident, you shouldn’t be dismissed from your role, and you might be able to make a compensation claim for your accident at work

Not being able to work due to your injury could mean you don’t get paid. Check your contract and see if you’re entitled to sick pay. This could be another reason to seek compensation for your injury that wasn’t your fault. 

While you can’t always prevent workplace accidents, it’s worth being aware of what to do if you are injured at work.