Personal Injury Law: Accidents At Work by Ian Beavon
Employers have a general obligation to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees at work, to protect their employees from foreseeable risk of injury. The health and safety of employees is protected by law and the relevant regulations impose statutory duties on employers.
If you have an accident at work, you may have a claim against your employer: if the employer knows of a health and safety risk to staff (or ought to have known of the existence of such a hazard), and fails to take reasonable care to avoid this happening the employer will be liable if the employee sustains injury as a result.
At common law an employer’s obligations are:
- to provide a safe place and system of work;
- to provide safe equipment and plant;
- to provide competent and safety-conscious personnel.
So, what can you do to protect your position should you have an accident?
- Your employer should record the accident in an accident report book. Make sure the accident is recorded as this can be a very useful, contemporaneous document should you need to bring a claim;
- If you have sustained injury, go to hospital or to your GP to have your injuries treated. Again, contemporaneous records such as A&E notes can prove to be crucial in demonstrating not only that you have sustained an injury but also that an accident happened as the records often confirm what circumstances give rise to a need for treatment;
- If you are well enough to do so, identify witnesses and take photographs, both of the accident location and of the injuries. Most mobile phones have facility to take photographs. Any contemporaneous documents could prove crucial when establishing liability for an accident and photographs can be a significant help.
- If you are a member of a trade union, notify your union representatives. They may be able to organise assistance including arranging legal advice if appropriate.
- As employers have to comply with strict regulatory rules relating to health and safety in the workplace, see whether your employer has reported the matter to the Health and Safety Executive.
Ultimately, common sense prevails.
Where injuries are severe your priorities may not be thinking about taking photographs or identifying witnesses or filling in accident reports but the above may assist you in substantiating a claim at a later date.
Rowberry Morris has a small team of personal injury lawyers who can advise on all matters of personal injury law.
If you would like a free initial consultation to discuss a personal injury matter please do not hesitate to contact Ian Beavon on 0118 958 5611 for an informal discussion or to arrange a preliminary appointment.
This information is for guidance and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking full legal advice.