8 Steps for an Accident at Work
There are so many ways you can have an accident at work such as falling from a height on scaffolding, stairs or ladders and falling on surfaces which are unexpectedly slippery or wet. Exposure to dangerous or chemical substances without proper protective equipment or training on the handling of this dangerous substance is another type of accident. Faulty machinery which was inadequately serviced is a common injury in some industries. Even an injury caused by lifting heavy objects and general manual handling, especially where training was poor or non-existent.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts 2005 and 2010 set the rights and obligations of both employers and employees and provides for substantial fines or penalties for breaches of the health and safety legislation. However, the practical what to do on the spot information is key to when there is an accident at work.
No matter how the accidents happened, the steps to follow immediately after are the same:
1. Seek Medical Attention
Attending to the injured is the priority. Whether it is reaching for the first aid box, calling the onsite medical team or calling 112 for A&E. Care is the first action at the scene. Try to remain calm and get the medical assistance needed, either on-site or at another location.
2. Report the Accident Formally
Report the accident immediately to your employer and do your best to ensure that an accident report form is completed. The obligation is on the employer to record the accident, but for the injured, it is essential to document the details as soon as possible afterwards at work or remotely if you went to the hospital due to injuries. If it is appropriate or you think it may be helpful, take a picture at the location of the accident at work. It may assist you in explaining and describing the details. A faulty machine may be obvious, but slips, trips and falls or injuries arising from repetitive injury may be more challenging to describe. Images of the work process or location of the accident or faulty machine may assist the injured.
3. Record Loss of Earnings
If you are out of work and remain unpaid for the duration of your recovery from an injury at work, you may be entitled to full reimbursement of immediate lost earnings. In circumstances where the injury has damaged your future opportunities and future loss of earnings, record these losses as well.
4. State Support Payment
You may be entitled to state support during your recovery. Injury Benefit is a weekly payment for those unfit for work due to an accident. If you are still unfit for work after 26 weeks, you may apply for Illness Benefit or Disability Allowance. Disablement Benefit is paid if you have loss of physical or mental faculty after the accident or disease.
5. Get your solicitor involved early
We can advise you in the early course of your rights and obligations if you have an accident at work. Often the first conversation may be to record the event, describe what happened and outline the severe injuries when they become more apparent. We can outline the way the damages for personal injuries sustained is paid to the injured and how the out of pocket expenses can be recovered. Early information is vital even though you may not be seeking to take claim until you see the full extent of the injury, the personal cost to you and how it may come against you later on in life. Understanding the simple procedure by which compensation is paid when work injuries happen and where the liability is accepted, and uncontested is essential. The process can seem daunting, but solicitors can provide clarity to assist at the time when workplace injuries can cause overwhelming personal and financial stress.
6. Keep a Diary
Mae West once said, “Keep a diary, and someday it’ll keep you” and this is true. Detail the date of the accident, who was there, what happened next, your ongoing injuries, medical appointments, recovery of injuries as they occur, out of pocket expenses and receipts. The mind cannot hold all the information that will be asked so jot it down in a diary.
7. Get & Keep Witness details
Another person’s recollection and record of the event can be helpful in collecting particulars, but it can also support your version of the events. So if there were witnesses, ask them to give a statement to explain what they saw too.
8. Take photographic evidence of the scene later
Taking a picture or asking a workmate to take a picture at the scene may be helpful in to show the location of the accident and what was involved. It will aid your description of the incident that happened and support your claim if you decide to make one. A picture may be better than a thousand words in showing who or what was where at the time of the incident.