Knowing your rights – What to do if you’re hurt at work
It’s the situation that we all dread at work – when you get hurt and are forced to spend weeks, maybe even months, away from the job.
Advances in health and safety legislation over the last 100 years have made workplaces so much safer for employers and employees, but accidents can happen. Whether in docile white-collar environments like offices or busier warehouses and industrial areas where conventional mishaps are more common, injuries can strike at any time.
In this sticky situation, what are your rights? What can you do if you’re hurt at work?
Whether you’ve hurt your back or are suffering from a more gruesome injury, it’s essential to keep your head in the situation. Your immediate health is the top priority if you’ve been hurt, so don’t put your body under any undue stress and seek medical help. At this early stage, you don’t want to make your injuries any worse than they are.
Tell your employer
Your employer is bound by law to keep all accidents documented in an ‘accident book’, so you have to tell them exactly what went on and, once you’ve had your injury assessed, you’ll be able to tell them how long you may be off work for.
Some employers may even be able to help you by offering you the opportunity to manage your injuries with flexible shifts or the opportunity to work from home, so talk to them to see if they are able to accommodate your injuries. After all, it’s in their interests for their staff to work as much as possible – you being injured is nearly as much of an inconvenience to them as it is to you.
Your employment rights
There are some manual vocations that you won’t be able to perform, however and will need time off sick. In the UK, you’ll be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, which currently stands at £85.85 a week. However, many employers offer a supplementary sick pay scheme, so consult your employment contract and check whether you would be entitled to that.
Consider legal action
It’s a step that many injured people loathe to make because they don’t want to sully any harmonious relations with a business, but the fact is that an employer has a duty to ensure that staff are kept safe while they’re at work. And if you were hurt because of a failing from your supervisor or as a result of negligent health and safety procedures, you deserve to be compensated for the pain and trouble you’ve been put through. What’s more, pursuing legal action against an employer is a very effective way to get an employer to sharpen up – protecting your colleagues from any further mishaps.
It’s not always possible, or necessary, to make a claim but it’s worth talking to a qualified solicitor who can guide you through the process and help you to receive the compensation you deserve after being hurt at work.