What to do if you have been in an accident at work

If you experience an accident at work, it is important to know the steps that you can take to ensure you are properly compensated, as we explore here.

Sigmund Freud argued that there are no such things as accidents. Events are not coincidental, and everything has a cause. When considering workplace accidents, this is certainly true.

If you experience an accident at work, no matter the severity, it is important to know the steps that you can take to ensure you are properly compensated, and to prevent further accidents happening at your workplace in the future.

What is a workplace accident?

The definition of a workplace accident is not always clear. What we may naturally brush off as a minor incident may actually have long-term repercussions. Some examples of workplace accidents include:

  • Trips, slips, and falls on business premises, including falls from a height
  • Injuries resulting from falling objects
  • Muscle strains related to lifting or repetitive actions
  • Accidents involving vehicles
  • Crushing and compression incidents
  • Electrocution
  • Inhalation of toxic fumes or substances
  • Serious lacerations

What should I do in the immediate aftermath of a workplace accident?

If you have been the victim of an accident at work, your first priority is to seek urgent medical attention, if required. It’s always best to err on the side of caution to prevent long-term complications, so if you are unsure about the severity of your injuries, consult a physician or health care practitioner to ensure that you are properly taken care of.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, and the complexity of your treatment, you may require a hospital stay or a temporary leave of absence while you recover. Inform your supervisor of your medical team’s recommendation, and provide any certification or evidence they require.

Once you have recovered, been discharged from hospital, or given clearance to return to work, you must report the incident, if you haven’t done so already. Most employers have a procedure for dealing with workplace incidents. Liaise with your supervisor or HR representative to ensure that everything is properly recorded. If you are asked to sign something you are not comfortable with, speak with your union representative or industry regulator. A legal professional will also be able to help you. It is critically important to ensure that the circumstances surrounding your accident are not repeated in the future.

How can I recover my expenses after a workplace accident?

Many accidents incur significant expenses, from medical bills, loss of earnings, and miscellaneous costs that tend to arise along the way. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation. All companies with at least one employee are required to be insured for this specific purpose. Even small businesses must have sufficient insurance coverage to take care of accidents in the workplace.

An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer will be able to help you navigate the often-complicated process of securing compensation after an incident. Make sure that you keep copies of all receipts and invoices pertaining to treatment and expenses incurred. Then, contact a specialist workers’ compensation law firm; they will help you to understand the compensation you may be entitled to, and support you in securing a commensurate amount.

Don’t forget that your employer is responsible for your safety at work. If your safety is compromised, you have every right to be properly compensated for any resulting accident.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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