Critical things to do after a work accident

Following the correct procedure after an accident at work could be crucial to building a strong case for compensation.

Firstly, assess your injuries

Get immediate medical attention if you need it, be that from a first aider if there is one or by calling an ambulance.

If you are too badly injured to carry out the below steps immediately following the accident, try to find someone who can do it for you.

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Gather details at the scene

These should include:

  • The exact time and date.
  • any relevant conditions on the day: the weather, the condition of any equipment, the lighting etc.
  • the names and addresses of any witnesses, be they colleagues or not.
  • statements from witnesses.
  • photos of the scene and your injuries if they are visible, and of anything else you feel is relevant that may be hard to explain without a picture.
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Report your injury 

Go to your supervisor as soon as possible - preferably straight away - and tell them exactly what happened. Either you or they should write as much detail as  possible in the accident book if there is one.

If there isn’t an accident book, write down a detailed account of events and give it to your supervisor and  keep a copy for yourself. If you fail to report an accident promptly, this could go against you if you decide to make a work injury claim later on.

If you feel that you were injured due to a breach of health and safety law, you should contact the Health and Safety

Executive (HSE) or speak to your trade union representative if you have one.

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Seek medical advice

Even if your injuries do not seem that serious straight away, you should see your GP or if necessary go to A&E.

This will put your injuries officially ‘on the record’, creating medical reports that can be referred to down the line if needs be. This can also be useful if you need to claim benefits due to your injuries.

Sometimes the severity of an injury can evolve in the days or weeks following the accident, so it is important that you initiate contact with a doctor from the outset.

It is also important that you tell whatever medical professional you see immediately after the accident that your injuries are work-related. This can help in establishing causation i.e. that your injuries were as a direct result of the accident.

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Keep a diary of any time off or losses incurred

If you cannot work due to your injuries, make a note of how long you have off and any financial losses you feel you have suffered beyond your usual working hours. For example:

  • Any overtime you have missed out on due to your injuries, which you would routinely have done previously.
  • Any company bonuses or perks you have lost due to being absent.
  • Expenses incurred through transport to medical appointments (keep receipts and parking tickets).
  • Anything else that you feel has caused you to be out of pocket as a direct result of your injuries.
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Remember…

  • If another employee was at fault for the accident, your employer is still liable
  • A work injury claim must be made within three years of the incident
  • Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you may still be eligible for some compensation if your employer was also partly to blame.
  • Your employer is not legally allowed to fire you for making a compensation claim.

Your employer has a duty of care to their staff, which means ensuring you are able to work safely at all times. If they do not uphold this and you are injured as a result, you have every right to compensation.

See also: Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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