A workplace is a place filled with routine and safety, but sometimes accidents happen. Becoming a victim to an accident or injury in the workplace can be a distressing and confusing time. Besides being injured and dealing with the associations from that, there are also emotional factors of having to take time out from work to consider. Make sure to find reliable information to ensure that this time is not confusing.
Focus on The Injury
The most important task is this. Immediately following your incident, seek assistance from the person on site in charge of medical care. A company should have a well-stocked first aid kit to help to deal with minor injuries. Find the nearest person, or ask a nearby co-worker to call a medic to assist with the situation.
Even what can seem like minor injuries can worsen over time and become lifelong debilitating conditions if the correct treatment isn’t given to them. Stay still until the first aider arrives at the scene if in doubt.
Then, it may be best to consider hospital treatment if a full medical assessment. Regardless of the severity of the injury it will be necessary to get checked over by a fully trained professional. If a head injury has been sustained, the conscious state of thinking may be affected- here it may be a good idea to go to the emergency room for treatment. The health of the injured party is the most important factor to consider here before seeking legal advice.
Loved ones worry, and will want to know what is going on- in particular, if there is emergency attention needed as a result of an injury. Keep HR updated with contact details for emergency contacts, and ensure that loves ones are kept up to date with progress.
Report the Accident to Co-Workers
Make colleagues aware of the accident, particularly if working alone at the time. This is an incredibly important step, particularly if legal action is taken, or a file for compensation is made at a later date– both of these will require an investigation and means that any evidence taken close to the time of the incident will be beneficial to a successful result. It also means that it will be more difficult to dispute the occurrence of the incident, should there be added pressure from an employer (which unfortunately happens often).
Employers may be able to pressurize staff into pretending that an incident didn’t happen at work at all. Having firm, undeniable evidence that the incident happened at work means that an employer is unable to dispute the occurrence of the workplace accident.
As well as protecting the person who has been subject to injury, this also plays a part in ensuring that others are protected from an injury in the future.
Report the Accident to Management
Similar to the above point, management should also be made aware of an incident at work. Each workplace will have protocols to follow should this happen. It is a management responsibility to report the injury to health and safety executives, especially under more serious circumstances. Managers are responsible to ensure to overall wellbeing and safety of their staff, so all accidents or even ‘near-miss’ accidents should be reported appropriately to make sure that nothing similar should happen in the future.
New staff members should be issued with health and safety training, and regularly visit the guidelines. Keeping the training logs of all staff members up to date helps to keep track of who has done what training and how recently. If the blame for an accident is held by the employer, then evidence of this training will need to be provided if legal action is sought.
However, placing blame on the workplace should be avoided at this stage– the question of who is at fault for the injury should be assessed by a qualified professional.
Record the Accident in an Official Document
Some employers may be reluctant to report a workplace injury in an accident book–this could be due to performance targets or feeling a little foolish for a trip or fall. An accident should not go unreported. Having this paper trail will be a useful tool when it comes to seeking the advice of legal representatives.
Take Pictures of the Scene
Using multimedia can enhance a claim for compensation, so make sure to hold photographic and video evidence of the incident. This can be from pictures of the area in which the incident happened, pictures of the injuries sustained (cuts, bruises, swelling etc). Remembering there is no such thing as too much evidence, in particular, if an employer is being uncooperative when it comes to providing the information needed for a claim. No personal injury lawyer will penalize for giving too much evidence- its the smartest thing to do in any incident. Keep a photo journal of all of the stages of injury recovery as well, which can also help with creating a file for evidence around the need for compensation.
Keep a Record of Expenses and Losses
The purpose of compensation is to help the injured person back into the position they were once in, had the event not happened. For example-if time off work to handle injury was given, and there was salary loss as a result of that, a claim could be made for loss of wages. Loss of money as a result from not being able to take a vacation could also be claimed for- as well as the money spent on healthcare.
Contact a Lawyer
Make sure to speak to a registered professional lawyer. Most lawyers operate under a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. Money speaks. It’s best the spend the money receiving concise advice and an increased likelihood of winning a claim than using a person who is not yet qualified to support the case. It is always best for the injured party to use somebody they feel they can trust who achieves high outcomes.
Where there’s blame, there’s a claim. Don’t hinder this by being underprepared.