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A Comprehensive Legal Guide to Workplace Accidents

An Overview of Workplace Accidents and the Government Bodies Responsible to Look After:

An incident of work accident, also referred as workplace accident or occupational accident, is defined as an identifiable incident that takes place during the course of employment and consequence of the situation leads to certain types of physical and mental harm. The data released by the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggests that over 330 million accidents occur every year throughout the world, including the cases of industrial diseases. The number of tragic and untimely death of workers as consequences of these incidents is around 2.3 million. Workers are the valuable assets of any industry and at a broader scale their contribution also helps in financial prosperity of a nation. The way governance of a country as well as her industries treat workers, often represents as well as reflects of the progression that the nation has made in the industrial domain. Compared to the developing nation, in the developed countries awareness of the government is significantly higher when it comes to treating industrial workers. The United Kingdom, in this context, holds quite a leading position. The Office of Health and Safety Executive has been assigned with the capacity to formulate the correct provisions that would ensure well-being of the workers at the respective workplaces. The Office has also been delegated with the capacity to investigate any incident that puts health and safety issue of workers under jeopardy. Under functional jurisdiction of the HSE, there is a specific set of regulations known as the RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995). This provision empowers employers or any other person-in-charge of a work premise to report incidents like accident at work, occupational disease or any other factor that may put lives of workers under threat.

Health and Safety Issues at Workplaces in the UK:

Theoretically there is no scope for doubting that the systematic approach to ensure health and safety issue of workers in the UK is quite advanced. The guidelines specified by the HSE not only cover almost every dimension of workers health security issues, irrespective of the industries they are working but also provides sufficient scope for them to address the issues of grievance. However, when it comes to implementing the measures, substantial gap is found between the theory and practice. The HSE 2011-12 data clearly suggests that more than 1.1 million people are suffering from the illness associated with occupational hazards. In 212,000 cases, the accidents were serious enough that the employees were absent from work over 3 consecutive working days. Compared to the earlier times though the number of workplace related accidental deaths – 173 – has decreased, almost 27 million working days are lost and compensation amount for the injuries was estimated over £13.4 billion, which doesn’t include the compensation amount for cancers.

The Main Reasons Behind Workplace Accidents:

In many cases the accidents at work happen due to negligent behavior of workers or due to their lack of familiarity with the instruments they are operating. However, a case of accident at work claim is established only when such unfortunate incidents take place due to negligence or reluctance of owners in providing adequate safety measures to the workers. Here follows necessary details on the major causes of workplace accidents:

  • Reluctant Management: In many cases the management is reluctant to pay adequate attention to the requirements of workers. Non-communication between the organizational hierarchy and lower divisions in the main reason that in many cases workers’ demands and requirements aren’t properly conveyed to the management and implementation of the necessary safety measure isn’t done.
  • Lack of Managerial Capability: A person designated as a manager doesn’t only have the responsibility to enhance a company’s profit and take the best out of the workers but also he has been assigned with the role to properly evaluate both human and finance. Many managers lack the sense of duty and important issues like injury, poor health condition of workers and unsafe work environment often go unattended.
  • Arrogance of the Management: The managements of many companies believe that reluctance of workers towards adapting with existing safety measures in the main reason behind the injuries they suffer. Consequently, they provide lesser importance to workplace safety, leading to different degrees of occupational accidents.

What are the Essential Duties of Employers?

The UK law has entrusted employers with the liability to take all necessary measures that can protect health and safety of workers and ensure overall welfare of workers. In order to make sure that the workplace is safe and doesn’t impose any adverse health impact on the employees, they need to satisfy the following duties:

  • Keeping a close watch that emission of dust, fuel and noise remain within the limit, prescribed by the government
  • Making sure that the workstation, overall condition of the plant and the machineries used for production are in safe condition and maintained regularly
  • Ensuring that the system of production and operation followed in the workplace is safe and doesn’t impose any adverse effect against health condition of an employee
  • Arranging all types of necessary protective measures, including clothing, fire extinguishing system, emergency exit system, depending on the type of industry it is and the nature of production it does
  • Getting in touch with the concerned department if in any case of industrial disease or injury comes to attention
  • Keeping all first aid equipments and facility handy, so that in case of any urgency the situation can be provided with immediate attention
  • Fire preventive measures should be provided with adequate attention in order to avoid any type of disaster
  • Demonstrating the newly recruits of the functioning procedure of an organization and the safest means of operating without leading to any disastrous consequences

Under the legal provisions laid down in the RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) any employer, self-employed person or management of an organization is free to consult the HSE regarding the state-of-the-art safety measures. The experts can help out professionals regarding implementation of the safest measures, suitable for the nature of the industry as well as the workplace.

Things to be done When Accident Has Occurred:

In case of a workplace accident, the employee/victim is required to report the employer at the earliest. It is also important to make sure that the incident has been recorded in the Accident Book, which is mandatory for every industrial house/premise to maintain. In case the authority denies taking a note of the incident, the victim or anyone else on behalf of the victim should note down the brief details concerning an accident. A copy of the same should be sent to the owner, while the original stays with the employee, who has suffered.

The next thing that the injured party should do is to consult a registered physician, irrespective of the nature of the injury. This is important as the physician is the best person to take a note of the details of your accident from the clinical perspective. If the victim is quite sure that the office accident has taken place due to negligence of the owner, he may opt for compensation claim for the damages caused. In such situations of accident at work claim, these details will prove to be of significant help. In case of not-so-serious injuries, the suffering party is advised to contact the Department for Work and Pension (DWP). Filling up the details will help the concerned party to enjoy adequate benefit in case of any health problem related disability, caused from an occupational accident.

Claiming Compensation:

In order to lodge the appeal for accidents at work related claims, the plaintiff needs to consider several things under consideration:

a)      That he has genuine reason to believe negligence of the owner has the most important role to play behind his plight

b)      That he has sufficient evidence in support of his observation and he asserts his claim further by citing relevant examples from other cases of such nature or testimony of people who have also suffered in the same manner

c)       Specifying time, spot, details and date of the incident

d)      Medical report, explaining seriousness and nature of the injury from a registered physician

e)      Providing details taken down by an administrative official can be highly helpful

f)       Producing pictures of the accident spot before the court can be even more relevant as the jurists will receive a comprehensive idea of the situation and surrounding

The owner of a workplace has the basic duty to ensure health and safety of workers in an organizational set up. However, in many cases their negligent approach leads to dangerous consequences. In an organizational set-up, where employees are compelled to deal with different types of machineries and work procedures, such accidents may lead to life threatening situations. Revival from such conditions is not only difficult but also time consuming and financially burdensome. The work accident compensation claims send strong message of protest to employers against their reluctance and ensures at the same time that necessary safety measures are implemented. Taking help of the injury claim specialists in the best way to address the case as they perfectly know the monetary compensation you deserve for the damages caused.

Related posts:

  1. A Guide To Control Skyrocketing Work Accidents in The UK
  2. Accidents at Work Claim: a Lucrative Guide for the Plaintiffs on Securing it

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