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Accident at work: what to do and when if you have been injured

Accidents in the workplace are commonplace.  According to recent statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive, 137 workers were killed in the past 12 months and over 600,000 were injured.

Katherine Flashman Kitson personal injury specialist with Parnalls in Launceston outlines essential steps to take if you have been injured while at work.

  1. Report the accident

Any injury at work should be reported to your employer immediately and recorded in your workplace accident book.  If no accident book exists, you should make a note of the injury you have suffered, along with how it happened and the date on which it occurred.  The original note should be kept by you and a copy sent to your employer.

If you believe there is a possibility that other workers could also be injured, for example by a faulty machine, you must advise your employer of this.

In some cases, your employer will be under an obligation to report an injury to the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority.  If they fail to do this, you can make the report yourself.

  1. See a doctor

Although you may have received first aid at work, you should still make an appointment to see a GP for anything more serious than a superficial cut, graze or bruise.  What may seem to be a relatively minor injury could soon develop into something more serious.  If you have been badly injured, then it may be necessary for you to go to hospital.

It is important that details of your injuries are recorded in your medical records and photographs taken, where appropriate.

  1. Talk to your employer

If you need to take time off from work because of your injury, talk to your employer about this.  Find out whether you are entitled to any payment while you are off, other than statutory sick pay.

As your injuries begin to heal, find out whether it might be possible for you to return to work on light duties until you are fully recovered.

Where, because of your injury, you are likely to be unable to work in the same way as you did previously, your employer may have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments to facilitate your return to the workplace.

  1. Know your rights

Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure your health, safety and wellbeing while carrying out work on their behalf.  This covers a whole range of matters, including:

  • the carrying out of risk assessments to identify potential safety issues;
  • the provision of any equipment necessary to protect you from harm, along with any required training; and
  • the implementation of appropriate health and safety policies and procedures.

Do not be fooled by attempts to persuade you that you have no basis for holding your employer responsible for what has happened to you.  Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, it may still be possible for you to claim compensation.  This could be the case if, for example, you were injured because you failed to take appropriate safety precautions when operating a machine, but your injury was made worse because the machine was faulty.

Employers are obliged to take out insurance to cover the risk that a claim for compensation could be made against them for a workplace injury.

  1. Talk to a solicitor, quickly

You generally only have three years from the date of an accident to bring a claim for compensation, so it is important that you speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.

Your chances of obtaining maximum compensation will be greatly increased if a solicitor is appointed while details of the accident are still fresh in your mind and those of anyone who witnessed it, and before any faulty equipment or other items to blame for the accident are removed.

The early involvement of a solicitor could also help you to secure any treatment or rehabilitative support you may need to speed up your recovery.

For more advice on injuries in the workplace, or for any other personal injury matter, please contact Katherine Flashman Kitson on 01566 772375 or email flashmankitsonk@www.parnalls.com

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