• About 70 people are killed in workplace accidents every
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year. On top of this statistic from the Health Safety Executive (HSE), another 1,000 or more major injury accidents occur annually, resulting in broken bones and amputations—mostly when employees and others are struck or run over by moving vehicles.
Health and safety at work legislation requires employers to:
0 Assess the risks created by and within their workplace;
• Provide a safe workplace and safe systems of work; • Take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of employees and the public.
Despite wide publicity and stringent enforcement by the FISE, workplace accidents still happen, often leaving both employer and the injured person wondering what they must do and what their rights are regarding claims for compensation.
Obviously, the primary consideration is to provide care for the victim, calling immediately for an ambulance where necessary. Delay in taking the right action quickly can exacerbate matters, so rehearsing correct procedures before accidents occur can save trauma when they do. Employers must provide first-aid facilities and, where appropriate, ensure that a trained first-aider is available.
In the event of lesser injury or seemingly minor accidents, it is still advisable to have any injury examined and properly treated including, for example, grit in the eye, splinters, bruising, etc. Medical problems may materialise later from what appear to be minor injuries not treated properly at the time.
The same applies to the onset of any work-related disease of which there are many, especially affecting agricultural and animal transport workers. If there is any doubt, an injured or sick person should be sent to a doctor or hospital for examination.
There is no statutory requirement for medical examination following a workrelated injury—although medicals are necessary under some other legislation where employees work with asbestos, lead, ionising radiation, compressed air and under the COSHH regulations.
REPORTING ACCIDENTS Employers have a legal duty to report workplace accidents. Under The Reporting of Injuries. Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) they must notify the authorities of: • Fatal accidents; • Major accidents and those causing more than three days incapacity for work; • Work-related diseases; • Gas incidents; • Any dangerous occurrence, whether or not anybody is injured.
Details of such events must be entered in the accident book (ideally, all injuries sustained at work, no matter how insignificant, should be recorded for future reference), and within seven days a written report must be sent to the enforcing authority using official form F2508 (available from HSE offices).
Other injuries to employees resulting in more than three days' absence from work are notifiable by: • Entering details in the accident hook (or other record system);
• Completing form B176 (claim for industrial injury benefit) as required by the Benefits Agency. A major injury is defined as:
• Fracture of the skull, spine or pelvis; • Fracture of any bone; • Amputation of a hand or foot;
• The loss of sight of an eye; or
• Other injuries resulting in hospitalisation for more than 24 hours (except for observation).
Dangerous occurrences (that is, incidents with a high potential for injury) which must be reported even though no injury was actually caused, include: • Failure, collapse or overturning of lifts, hoists, cranes, excavators, tail-lifts, etc; • Explosion of boiler or boiler tube; • Electrical short circuits followed by fire or explosion; • Explosion or fire which results in stoppage of work for more than 24 hours;
• Release of flammable liquid or gas (that is. over one tonne);
• Collapse of scaffolding; • Collapse, or partial collapse. of any building; • Failure of a freight container while being lifted; • A dangerous goods road tanker either overturning or sustaining serious damage to the tank while a hazardous substance is being carried.