Accidents in the workplace

Your employer has a duty to protect you and tell you about health and safety issues that affect you. They also have a legal responsibility to report certain accidents and incidents, pay you statutory sick pay, or contractual sick pay if you are entitled to it and give you time off because of an accident at work should you need it.

Reporting an accident at work

Your employer must report serious work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous incidents to the Health and Safety Executive. They must report:

  • death
  • major injuries, a broken arm or ribs for example
  • dangerous incidents like the collapse of scaffolding, people overcome by gas
  • any other injury that stops an employee from doing their normal work for more than three days
  • disease

The reporting must be done by your employer, but if you’re involved it’s a good idea to make sure it’s been reported.

Who is responsible for health and safety at work?

Your employer has to carry out a risk assessment and do what’s needed to take care of the health and safety of employees and visitors. This includes deciding how many first aiders are needed and what kind of first aid equipment and facilities should be provided.

First aiders have no statutory right to extra pay, but some employers do offer this. Employees must also take reasonable care over their own health and safety.

Recording accidents

Any injury at work – including minor injuries – should be recorded in your employer’s ‘accident book’. All employers must keep an accident book. It’s mainly for the benefit of employees, as it provides a useful record of what happened in case you need time off work or need to claim compensation later on. But recording accidents also helps your employer to see what’s going wrong and take action to stop accidents in future.

Sick pay

In most cases, if you need time off because of an accident at work, you’ll only have the right to Statutory Sick Pay. Your employer may have a scheme for paying more for time off caused by accidents, or may decide to pay extra depending on what has happened.

What should you do next if you have an accident?

  • make sure you record any injury in the ‘accident book’
  • if need be, make sure your employer has reported it to the Health and Safety Executive
  • check your contract or written statement of employment for information about sick or accident pay
  • if there’s a dispute, try to sort it out with your employer
  • if there are health and safety problems at work, point them out to your employer or the employee safety representative.



You may also like...