While no workplace will ever be completely free from risk, you’d hope that yours is as safe as possible. In fact, that is something you should expect. Legally, employers have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to protect the welfare of their staff in the workplace. Therefore, this article will look at what responsibility employers have to try and avoid accidents at work. We’ll also look at when and how you could sue your employer if you’re injured at work because they breached their duty of care and the level of compensation that could be awarded.
We provide a no-obligation consultation to discuss any potential claim you might have. During the call, a specialist will review your case with you and check whether you could be eligible to claim. If they believe you do, they’ll ask one of our personal injury solicitors to talk with you. If they accept your claim because they believe you’ve got a reasonable chance of success, they’ll work for you on a No Win No Fee basis.
To talk to us right away, please call our advice centre on 0800 6524 881 today. Otherwise, please read on to learn more about accidents at work and employer responsibility.
Table of contents
- Employer Duty Of Care To Employees
- Other Relevant Laws Relating To Accidents At Work And Employer Responsibilities
- Reporting Accidents And Injuries At Work
- Most Common Causes Of Workplace Injuries
- Accident At Work Claims Eligibility Checklist
- Evidence To Support A Compensation Claim Against A Negligent Employer
- What Compensation Can Be Claimed Following A Workplace Injury?
- Workplace Accident Claims Time Limits
- Contact Us About An Accident At Work And Employer Responsibilities
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sets out that employers have a duty, “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
This means that employers must:
- Regularly assess the workplace to identify any potential risks and remove them where possible.
- Ensure that machinery and equipment are well maintained or repaired if required.
- Train staff properly on how to complete their role safely.
- Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reduce risk of injury if it can not be removed completely.
- Keep the working environment well maintained so that it is generally safe to work in.
- Prepare a health and safety policy and regularly update it.
- Consult with employees about workplace safety matters.
If an employer fails to meet their duty of care and therefore responsibilities, and a worker suffers an injury at work as a result, the company could be investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Furthermore, an injured member of staff could seek compensation by filing a work accident claim for their suffering.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is by far the most commonly referenced when discussing an employer’s responsibilities in the workplace. Other laws that solicitors may use to establish a duty of care include:
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999.
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
- Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences 2013 (RIDDOR).
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022.
These are just a selection of the laws designed to try and keep staff as safe as possible whilst working. Any breach of these laws could potentially allow you to be compensated if they resulted in an accident in which you were injured.
Employers must report certain accidents to the HSE under RIDDOR regulations. Some of the reportable injuries that must be logged include:
- Bone fractures (other than to fingers, thumbs and toes).
- Crush injuries – to head or torso.
- Injuries leading to blindness or partial loss of sight.
- Burns that cover more than 10% of the body or seriously damage vital organs, the respiratory system or the eyes.
- Head injuries or asphyxia that lead to unconsciousness.
- Hypothermia or heat-induced illnesses.
- Any injury requiring resuscitation or hospitalisation for longer than 24 hours.
Importantly, these accidents must be reported regardless of whether the employer was to blame. Also, this is not the same list of injuries that could lead to a compensation claim. Essentially, you could sue your employer for any injury caused by their negligence.
The HSE produces data each year to show the most commonly reported accidents and incidents causing workplace injuries. Their 2021 statistics show the following incidents were most common:
- Slips, trips and falls (on the same level) – 33%.
- Lifting, carrying and handling injuries – 18%.
- Being hit by a moving object – 10%.
- Violence against staff – 8%.
- Falls from height 8%.
If you’ve been hurt at work and wondering if you’re eligible to sue your employer, please don’t hesitate in contacting our advisors for free advice.
To see if you could claim compensation following an accident at work, see if you can answer yes to the following questions:
- Did your employer owe you a legal duty of care?
- Did an accident happen that was caused by your employer’s negligence?
- Were you injured or made ill during the accident?
As we’ve already shown, there are many laws that mean an employer will almost always owe their staff a duty of care. Therefore, if you proceed with a claim, the most important steps will be to prove how the accident happened, how you’ve suffered and why your employer was responsible. Will explain what steps you could take to do this shortly.
As well as having a responsibility for your safety, employers must also abide by employment laws as well. That means that you cannot be sacked, fired, demoted, disciplined or treated differently in a way based on the fact that you have made a claim against the company. Were that to happen, you could be entitled to start a separate claim for constructive or unfair dismissal.
Your employer’s insurance company will only compensate you if there’s evidence to show how their client caused your accident and how your injuries have affected you. The types of evidence that could help you to prove this include:
- Accident report forms – so always inform your employer if you’re injured at work.
- Medical notes and x-rays – these can be requested from the hospital where your injuries were treated.
- Witness statements – check with colleagues that saw the accident if they’re happy for you to supply their details to your solicitor.
- Accident scene photographs – these can make it easier to show how the accident occurred.
- CCTV footage – again, this can clarify what caused your accident to happen.
- Financial evidence – receipts and bank statements can help to explain your financial losses.
Your solicitor will help you to collect any evidence you’ve not yet managed to secure.
Any personal injury claim will usually focus on the suffering you’ve endured because of your injuries (general damages) and any associated expenses or costs (special damages).
If you receive compensation, therefore, it could cover:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Psychological harm linked to your injuries such as distress, anxiety or depression.
- Loss of amenity – or the impact your injuries had on your usual activities and hobbies.
- Income reduction as well as loss of future earnings for longer-term injuries.
- Care costs to cover the amount of time you needed support from somebody else.
- Private medical treatment including physiotherapy services.
- Fuel, parking and other transport fees linked to your injuries or claim.
- Replacement costs for personal property damaged during the accident.
- The cost of adapting your home to make it easier to cope with any physical disability resulting from your accident at work.
If your claim is managed by one of our personal injury solicitors, they’ll do all they can to try and ensure you’re paid the highest possible amount to cover your suffering.
Realistically, we can’t say how much compensation you may be able to claim until your injuries have been independently assessed. However, our compensation calculator does provide a rough idea of how much could be awarded for a range of different injuries:
These figures are provided simply for guidance. If your claim is successful, any settlement will be based on the severity of your injuries and so you could be awarded a higher or lower amount.
Rather than waiting too long, we suggest that you speak to our team as soon as you can because evidence-gathering is often much easier the sooner you begin. If your employer accepts liability for your injuries right away, and you’ve already recovered, your claim could be settled in 6 to 9 months. More complex claims can take longer than a year.
If you believe your employer is responsible for injuries you’ve sustained at work, please call us on 0800 6524 881 to see if you could be eligible to claim compensation.
If your employer is responsible for your accident at work and your claim is taken on, you’ll know from the start that you won’t need to pay any legal fees at all unless you’re compensated as your solicitor will manage your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.