According to HSE, over 693,000 workers have sustained a non-fatal injury at work in 2019/2020. This being said, a survey by National Accident Helpline found that 48% of people in their survey suffered from an injury whilst working from home.
Whether it’s in the office or working from home, it’s essential as an employer that you take all the necessary steps to ensure you’re providing a safe working environment and safe conditions for all your staff.
But, with so much to wrap your head around, knowing how to handle a workplace accident, and your key responsibilities as an employer can be complicated.
If you’re not entirely sure how to handle a workplace accident — or just need some further advice, then business insurance experts, Bionic have provided some useful tips on how to prevent and deal with workplace accidents.
As an employer, you have a legal duty of care to protect the health and safety of your employees.
Whilst some accidents are unforeseen and can’t be prevented, most can be avoided. Typically, accidents at work happen when adequate risk assessments aren’t taken seriously, members of staff aren’t properly trained or suitably equipped, or when corners are cut to save time and money.
The safety and wellbeing of your staff are your top priority, so it’s important to put preventative measures in place:
If an employee does have an accident at work, you must report it as soon as possible. This applies whether it’s a simple injury, or something more complex.
Make sure your employee is free from any immediate danger and seek medical attention. If the employee has sustained superficial wounds like a small cut or a graze, they can usually be treated easily on-site by a trained first-aider.
If they require more serious and urgent medical attention for a sustained injury, such as a concussion or broken bone, have a first-aider there to respond and call 999 immediately for medical attention.
Employees have the right to:
Legally, you cannot object or prevent an employee from doing any of the above.
Most common accidents working from home
According to the National Accident Helpline there are a lot of different accidents or ailments we can suffer from as a result of working from our humble abodes. These include:
Most common accidents in the workplace
Using HSE data, we have looked into what the most reported accidents were in the workplace between 2019 and 2020 with 168,000 injuries that involved over 7 days absence.
Some of the injuries reported included:
Every workplace should have at least one trained and qualified first-aider. Make sure that you have a system in place for recording and reporting accidents that happen at work; this is known as an ‘Accident Book’.
When reporting an incident, it’s important to take down:
When recording an accident, it’s crucial that all information is taken down correctly, whether it’s about serious incidents or cases of disease. This also allows the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to identify where and how risks arise, and whether they need to be investigated to a wider extent. They can then provide important information on how to avoid work-related injuries, deaths, ill-health and accidental loss.
A RIDDOR report — also known as The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations — is a health and safety legislation that must be used to record any cases of work-related injuries, illnesses or incidents.
Under the RIDDOR you must report:
Only people who are deemed ‘responsible persons’ should report any accidents under the RIDDOR. These include:
If a member of your staff comes to you with a report of an incident, under the RIDDOR the report must be submitted to the HSE website. This must be submitted within 10 days of the incident happening, or within 15 days if the person who has been injured needs to take more than 7 consecutive days of sick leave.
Fatal or specified incidents can also be reported by telephone. If you fail to report an incident to the RIDDOR, you could face paying a fine of up to £20,000.
Employees have the right to seek compensation for any injuries that are sustained in the workplace. Providing the incident was caused either through employer negligence, nonsufficient training or a mistake by a colleague. The incident should also have occurred within the last three years.
By law, you are required to pay a portion of your employee’s salary while they are recovering from a work-related injury or illness, this is known as Statutory Sick Pay. In the UK, all companies must have adequate worker’s compensation insurance that can cover medical expenses when an employee is injured at work.
Compensation for work-related injuries varies from person to person. Contributing factors to this can include:
If an employee does make a claim against you, it’s important to handle the situation in an appropriate manner.
More often than not, many cases of compensation are settled outside of court because of the hefty legal fees you may incur. If you don’t believe that you are liable, you may end up at an employment tribunal or court to argue your case. Usually, solicitors will negotiate on the employee’s behalf to get a settlement that is representative of their injuries.
Employees are also not obliged to discuss any claims with you or give you any notice of making the claim.
While understanding how to handle a workplace accident can at times seem overwhelming, it’s important that you put all the relevant measures in place to prevent accidents from happening. If they should happen, you should be aware of your next steps including how to report the accident to the RIDDOR and how to handle a case should an employee try to gain compensation.
David Woodfield, Insurance Director at Bionic, the business comparison experts, said:
“As an employer, you have a duty of care to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees and anyone else who might be affected by their business. This means it should always be a priority to make sure your workplace is safe, and you give employees the right equipment and training to do their job properly and safely.
“But if a business owner spends all their time and effort on eliminating all the risks they face, no matter how small then they probably wouldn’t have time or resource to make any money. And no matter how much emphasis you place on workplace health and safety, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s just as important to have the right level of business insurance in place – that way, if the worst does ever happen, you should be covered against the costs of any damages or compensation claims.
“If you employ even one member of staff, employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement. If your work brings you into contact with anyone that’s not an employee, then you should consider public liability insurance. To get insurance tailored to the exact needs of your business, speak to the tech-enabled team at Bionic.”