Accidents at work: What are your rights?

Unfortunately accidents do happen, but it is a perfectly reasonable assumption for employees to expect that their workplaces will be safe. After all, it is an employer’s duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees.

Yet the most recent statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) looking at accidents at work show that workplaces can be dangerous places. In 2018/19 a total of 0.6 million workers sustained a non-fatal injury and 69,208 non-fatal injuries to employees were reported by employers.

What is your employer's duty?

Your employer must tell you how to do your job safely in a way that you can understand, and tell you about the risks to your health and safety from current or proposed working practices. They must also tell you how any risks will be controlled and who is responsible for this.

Employers have a duty to consult and work with health and safety representatives and employees to protect everyone from harm in the workplace. You should be informed how to get first-aid treatment and what to do in an emergency, as well as be provided with free of charge training to enable you to do your job safely.

Any equipment and protection should be provided as necessary for you at work (such as clothing, shoes or boots, eye and ear protection, gloves, masks etc). Health checks should be provided if there is a danger of ill health because of your work and your employer should provide regular health checks if you work nights and a check before you start.

Information your employer must make available

Your employer must display or make available certain information, including the health and safety law poster, which must be displayed in a prominent place, or as an alternative, they can provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent pocket card. This should give the contact details of people who can help. They must also make available a copy of their health and safety policy statement and an up-to-date Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) certificate, which must be visible in your place of work.

What is your responsibility in the workplace?

Of course, it’s not all one-way traffic and employees have certain responsibilities too, aimed at minimising the risk of any accidents at work. Employees must be sure to cooperate fully with their employers and colleagues to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

As an employee you must follow the training you have received when using any work items your employer has given you. You must also take reasonable care of your own and other people’s health and safety, as well as co-operate fully with your employer on health and safety. You also have a responsibility to tell someone (your employer, supervisor, or health and safety representative) if you think the work or inadequate precautions are putting anyone’s health and safety at serious risk.

If in doubt, or if you have any concerns, then you should talk to your employer. If after doing so you are still concerned, then contact the HSE for advice.

What to do if you’ve had an accident at work

If you’ve had an accident at work you might feel anxious about taking action against your employer. But you are entitled to do just that. It’s important to think about the results of any action you may take. For example, by raising what happened to you, you could help your employer address the problem, which could then help them stop it happening to anyone else.

If you’ve been injured in any workplace accident – from a manual handling injury to a factory accident – you may have a claim for compensation. First4Lawyers can help you work out the best course of action. Just give us a call, request a call back at the top of your screen or start your claim here.


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