Know your rights: what to do if you’ve been injured at work

  • 2023-12-06

Accidents at work happen all the time. Sometimes, they’re triggered due to lack of sleep and excessive workload, but other times, they result from your employer’s duty breach. In this case, you might be eligible to claim compensation that will cover your physical or psychological treatment. 

Handling work-related injuries is considerably tricky, especially when you’re working in an irresponsible work environment. Even reporting the accident is a challenge, as workers are most of the time afraid to speak up for themselves or their colleagues. Most of them also feel embarrassed about being honest about their injury due to judgment in the workplace. 

Unfortunately, some employees don’t even have the time to assess the incident because they’re responsible for a considerable workload. 

All these elements are part of a poor company culture where employees are encouraged to be perfect and focus only on aiding the company’s development. These types of businesses only contribute to the acceptance of hazardous workplaces that eventually reflect on the well-being of employees.

However, workers must consult their rights to defend their case when they’re the subject of an accident at work. 

The right to make an injury claim 

You can make an injury claim if your employer was at fault for contributing to your injury. For example, if they’ve been notified about a hazard in the work site and didn’t take any precautions or safety measures, and that caused you an illness or bruise, they’re entirely at fault. 

The employer must always take all necessary measures to ensure a safe workspace, whether a regular office or a construction site. This includes proper spaces, secure hardware and tools, as well as enough time for rest breaks.

These duty breaches lead to some of the most common accident types, such as the following:

- Slips, trips and falls due to wet surfaces, clutter or uneven walking surfaces;

- Being struck by moving machinery happens due to a lack of training and equipment and old vehicles;

- Explosions occur when toxic materials aren’t properly stored, or workers don’t use proper equipment;

- Stress is one of the leading causes of burnout and psychological damage;

If your employer was aware of irregularities in the office and their lack of interest led to you experiencing one of the above accidents, you’re eligible to make an accident at work claim, according to to receive compensation and the deserved time to rest. 

The right to receive sick pay 

The sick pay package varies depending on the company you’re working with, as some businesses might’ve developed their own sick pay scheme. However, generally speaking, there are two types of sick pay. The occupational sick pay usually allows you to receive regular pay after you’ve been sick, after which you’re entitled to half-pay if you were ill for longer. 

On the other hand, the Statutory sick pay gets you the financial resources for the days you’ve been off for sickness. The amount of SSP you receive is with no regard to the cause of the health issue, so whether it’s caused by the employer’s choices or not, you’ll receive the same amount of money. However, your employer is obliged by the law to give you time off to rest. In case it’s not happening, you can also act in court after understanding the parts of the contract you’ve signed. 

If you don’t know the situations in which you can get sick leave, there are a few good reasons to do so. First, when you have a contagious illness that can affect the entire workplace, you can stay home if your injury impacts your productivity considerably or you have already been hospitalized. At the same time, even if you’ve got a medical appointment and have already been diagnosed with a specific medical condition, it’s best to let your team know. 

The right to stay at work 

In some unfortunate cases, employers dismiss employees following an accident at work to avoid the responsibility. Of course, there are more sides to the story because if the accident was your fault, even if you’re the only one injured, your employer can legally dismiss you for misconduct. 

On the other hand, if it was only partially your fault, you have more options considering other factors, like if you’ve been provided with PPE or contributory negligence. 

But if your employer’s negligence totally caused the injury, they have no legal grounds to justify your dismissal. Hence, you can take legal action through employment tribunals or personal injury claims. You’re usually time-limited by three months since the accident to take action, so make sure you talk with an advisor and bring all the evidence that supports your side of the story. 

The right to record the accident’s occurrences 

As mentioned, most employees don’t even talk about the incident or record its aftermath. However, if you want to win the case and prove the employer’s breach, you must have the courage to speak up. 

Companies that value worker safety use the accident book the Health and Safety Executive provided to allow employers to write down the issue correctly. The document is well structured so that workers can note their details and the details of the accident, such as date, time and the cause of the injury. 

Of course, for this paper to be filled with genuine information, employees must state precisely how the accident occurred without introducing their personal take on the incident. If there are any witnesses or CCTV cameras around the office, the truth will be found eventually. But for the report to be taken seriously, it would be best for all employees who saw the incident to provide their view. 

Final considerations 

Accidents at work are challenging to handle, especially when the employer is demanding. In some cases, employees might not be given the right to stay at home or receive their sick pay, in which case the employer could get dragged to court. At the same time, workers must consult their contracts and understand the rights and responsibilities they’ve signed before making a claim.