What to Do if an Employee Has an Accident in Your Workplace
October 5 2019 - Health and safety should be the number one priority in every workplace, but unfortunately, accidents will still happen. If health and safety rules have been followed properly, then most accidents should be minor, so can be dealt with on-site.
However, if a more serious accident has occurred, then it's important to put procedures in place to deal with the aftermath.
Ensure first aid is given
It's important that your workplace has adequate first aiders for each shift and that they have well-stocked first aid kits. Quick treatment often helps prevent a more serious injury, so it's important to know the laws around first aid in the workplace.
Record the accident
All workplaces should have an accident book where you keep a record of any injuries, no matter how minor. You should also keep any evidence such as CCTV, photos of the site and witness statements about the accident. This is because the affected parties might put in personal injury claims, which could end up in court. Therefore, it's important not to forget any details of the accident, and to have evidence to show that you did all you could to prevent it.
Serious accidents that involve a fatality, major injuries such as broken bones, diseases, or injuries that stop the employee working for more than three days need to be reported under a law called RIDDOR -- Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. A RIDDOR report can be submitted online via the Health and Safety Executive's website.
Find the cause of the accident
Keeping an accident report and getting witness statements will help you find the exact cause of the accident, so you can put measures in place to prevent it happening again. Whether it's coming up with safer procedures or fitting new safety equipment, it's important that you make these changes before people get back to work, even if it means a loss of productivity in the meantime.
Manage your employees return to work
Employers should have a procedure in place to deal with employees return to work after a time off, whether it's due to sickness or an injury. If you work for a large organisation, then they'll usually already have something in place.
You will need to speak to your employee and come up with a return to work plan that'll be suitable for both parties. In cases of serious injury, your employee's doctor may need to provide a fitness to work certificate to show that they can safely do their job. In some cases, your employee may need extra support, whether it's returning to work in stages, being on lighter duties for a while, or an appointment with occupational health.
It's a good idea to have a return to work interview to check that your employee is happy and ready for their return. This also gives you a chance to get them up to speed with any changes in the business, so they don't feel left out due to their absence.
While many workplace accidents are avoidable, it's not always possible to protect employees 100% of the time. When accidents happen, it's important that you know how to deal with them so that you can offer assistance to your employees, and also protect yourself legally.