Important questions to ask about health and safety at work

Category: Accidents at Work, Personal Injury

Wednesday 28th April 2021, is also known as the ILO‘s World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This day’s been picked out to draw attention to work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities.

It’s relatively good news here in Great Britain. Over recent years, the rate of non-fatal injury to employees has shown a flat or downward trend. However good this may sound at first, the statistics for work based injuries are still much higher than you’d expect. 

In fact, over 1.6 million workers in Great Britain suffered with a work-related illness in 2019/2020. As a result, around 38.8milion working days have been lost. 693,000 workers sustained non-fatal accidents at work. 29% of those injuries were slips, trips and falls. A further 19% were due to handling, lifting and carrying. Other types of accident included falling from height, acts of violence and being struck by a moving object.*

Does my employer need to have employers’ liability insurance?

The answer is YES, 100%! It’s compulsory in the UK (under the  Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969) for your employer to have employers’ liability insurance. There are some exemptions, however, such as public organisations including government departments, local authorities, National Health Service, etc. It’s important to know though, if you work for an exempt organisation, you can still make a claim. 

Those employers who are required to have insurance cover, must have cover of up to a minimum of £5million.  In most practices, employers will have insurance of up to £10 million.

Did you know: If your employer does not have insurance they may be fined by Health and Safety Executive? The fine can reach up to £2,500 for every day they are uninsured!

If I’m successful in a claim against my employer, does my compensation come directly out of my employer’s pocket?

In most cases, the answer is no. If your employer has acted lawfully and has employers liability insurance, then insurers will deal with your claim. If you’re successful, the insurers will pay your compensation. You’re absolutely entitled to make a claim against your employer if they have acted negligently.

Under rules around health and safety at work, when does my employer have to report my accident?

If you have had a serious accident, your employer must report your accident under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). In 2019/2020 over 65,000 non-fatal injuries were reported to RIDDOR, and a further 111 fatal injuries were reported. Serious injuries could include fractures, broken ribs, serious burns and work related deaths. In cases of fatality, the Health and Safety Executive will carry out an investigation. A criminal prosecution MAY then be brought against an employer.

Did you know: Have you had to take 7 or more consecutive days off work because of the accident/injury? If you have, your employer must then report the accident under RIDDOR.

Can I make a claim if I have a pre-existing condition, such as a back injury?

If you have a pre-existing condition and you’ve had an accident which has made that condition worse, you may be able make a claim against your employer. We would need to show that the condition has been made worse by your accident at work. To do this, we would arrange for you to see an independent medical expert. The cost of the report will be covered, so there is no upfront fee for you to pay.

Is my employer allowed to dismiss me if I make a claim against them for my personal injury?

Your employer shouldn’t dismiss you from your employment, simply because you’re making, or thinking of making, a claim against them.  If your employer does do this, you may also have a claim for unfair or constructive dismissal. This would be subject to you qualifying for employment rights. If this is the case we’d recommend getting in touch with an employment lawyer to discuss your rights. Karen Bussell, a Partner in our Employment team would be happy to help in this case.

I’m thinking of making a personal injury claim against my employer. What should I do next?

You can find out more about your next steps from our Accident at Work Guide. Here, we have provided answers to the most commonly asked questions from our clients.

Your health and safety at work is a right. It’s not something that your employer can opt in or out of.

Here at Nash & Co Solicitors, we’ve got a team of fully qualified Personal Injury Lawyers. They all have a wealth of experience and they’ll always act in your best interests. We’ll ensure we do all that we can to achieve the best possible result for you. Client care is especially important to us. We pride ourselves on providing an exceptional experience, from the first point of contact throughout the whole matter.

If you’re thinking of making a personal injury claim, please feel free to get in touch. You can reach our Personal Injury lawyers in Plymouth on 01752 827085. You can also email us at [email protected]. A member of the team will be more than happy to talk to you.

Alternatively, you can ask us to give you a call back by filling out the form on our Contact page.

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*These facts and figures are taken directly from https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/ for the year 2019/2020, based on Labour Force Surveys and RIDDOR.