An employee has an accident at work. What’s next?

An employee has an accident at work. What’s next?

As a manager, you need to be able to respond effectively and lawfully in the event of an employee suffering an accident at work.

As a manager, you need to be able to respond effectively and lawfully in the event of an employee suffering an accident at work. Even with thorough risk assessments and the implementation of preventative measures, we still can’t always prevent workplace injuries from happening.

No matter what industry your company operates in, every member of staff will face potential threats and as their employer, you have a legal duty to protect their welfare.

Do I need to make RIDDOR aware?

In a word - yes!

“If you are an employer, you must report any work-related deaths, and certain work-related injuries, cases of disease, and near misses involving your employees wherever they are working.”

Over 69,000 non-fatal injuries to employees were reported by employers to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) in 2018/19. Common causes of workplace injuries include slips, and the handling of harmful substances. 

A failure to record and report ‘reportable’ work accidents to RIDDOR can result in an employer receiving a £20,000 fine from the enforcing authority. Only responsible persons, such as managers, are able to notify RIDDOR of accidents - employees should be made aware of this and instructed to inform their manager if they or a colleague have been involved in an accident while carrying out their work duties.

In the event of an accident, remember to follow these five key guidelines to ensure you are abiding by legislation and instilling the right values, culture and practices in your workplace. 

1. Decide whether there is a risk of further damage or injury

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you must evaluate the situation and manage the threat accordingly. Does the area need cordoning off? Can you safely turn off machinery? However, only remove the source of danger if it is safe to do so - do not put yourself at risk.

2. Correct medical attention

It is a legal requirement for your establishment to have a designated first aider and first aid kit in the vicinity. By taking the time to provide training and communicate health and safety policies to your workforce, they will also be aware of the procedures that are expected to be followed in the event of an accident.

The first aider will be able to apply treatment, gauge the severity of the injury and decide whether or not the individual requires further medical attention.

3. Compile and file an adequate report

Logging and maintaining thorough details of accidents will enhance your company’s health and safety record. It will also enable you to identify what type of accidents are commonplace in your working environment and carry out assessments to put measures in place to prevent them from reoccurring.

4. Notify RIDDOR

As mentioned earlier, you have a legal obligation to inform RIDDOR. Reports need to be submitted online and must be received within 10 days of the incident. On the other hand, if the incident resulted in more than seven days’ absence from work, it can be submitted within 15 days.

5. Investigate the accident

This should be carried out by an impartial employee who has a strong understanding of your workplace and its health and safety practices. Carry this out as soon as possible so that appropriate steps can be taken to safeguard your workforce in similar circumstances.

Respond decisively

Ultimately, it is up to us as managers to keep our employees trained to industry standards and up-to-date with health and safety legislation. Other practices, such as regular maintenance of machinery, putting up warning signs where necessary and utilising the constant evolution of accident detection technology can go a long way to safeguarding our workforce.

Our number one priority is to provide employees with a safe working environment and avoid any accidents. However, the reality is that accidents do happen - it is our responsibility to be prepared and react positively.

February 11, 2020
An employee has an accident at work. What’s next?
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