What are your employer’s responsibilities after an incident at work?

By Anita Jaynes on 27 September, 2023

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Workplace accidents can happen unexpectedly, leaving employees injured and employers with essential responsibilities to fulfil. Understanding these responsibilities is vital for injured employees when claiming work injury compensation and maintaining a safe and compliant workplace. The employer’s duty of care to employees requires them to act in a way that protects all employees’ health and safety when in the workplace and provides the appropriate means of protection, such as adequate personal protective equipment, training, maintenance of machinery, and risk assessments. Here FT Chronic Pain examines employers’ critical role in ensuring workers’ well-being following an incident. 

Providing immediate medical assistance 

An accident at work should be immediately reported to the employer so that the injured can receive immediate medical attention and ensure no more immediate danger. This may involve calling 911, providing first aid if trained, or arranging transportation to a medical facility.

Documenting

The employer should note the details of your injury, including how it happened, in the company accident book. Documenting the type and severity of the injury, date, time and how the accident happened, are all legal obligations for the employer. This report can also utilise CCTV evidence, witness statements and photographs. This reporting process is vital for both the employee and the employer and can be used in cross-reference with medical records to support a work injury compensation claim. 

Reporting 

One of the most critical responsibilities for UK employers after a workplace incident is reporting it using a RIDDOR report to the Health and Safety Executive within ten days of the incident or 15 days if the injured individual requires more than seven days of absence. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) is a health and safety legislation that outlines the specific incidents that must be reported. This includes accidents resulting in death, significant injuries, and certain work-related illnesses. Failing to submit the RIDDOR report can result in a fine of up to £20,000. 

Post Reporting Requirements 

In the UK, employers are legally required to have employers’ liability insurance to cover all workplace injuries. Employers must inform the injured about their rights regarding workers’ compensation benefits and assist them in filing a claim. This may include helping them complete paperwork, facilitating access to medical records, and cooperating with the workers’ compensation insurer. In addition, depending on the severity of the injury, UK employers may need to offer job protection to the injured employee under laws like the Employment Rights Act. 

Safety Improvements 

After an incident, employers should thoroughly investigate the root causes and safety hazards contributing to the accident. Implementing safety improvements and preventive measures is crucial to prevent similar incidents and ensure compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Employer responsibilities after a workplace incident are not just legal obligations but also a testament to an organisation’s commitment to employee well-being and safety. By promptly providing medical assistance, complying with reporting requirements, and assisting in workers’ compensation claims, employers can create a safer, more secure working environment for their employees, protect their legal standing, and contribute to a positive and safe workplace culture.

About the Author

Anne Felmingham is one of the founding partners at FT Chronic Pain Solicitors, specialists in legal matters around assisting those with chronic pain.