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Accidents at Work

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What you should do if you have an accident

If you have an accident at work, you have the right to make a personal injury claim and receive compensation for your loss. Your employer must not dismiss you or subject you to any detriment for making a claim.

You must immediately start collecting as much information and evidence of what happened as you possibly can.  Take photos and video evidence. If you are too ill to do so, get a trusted colleague to do these things for you. [ see How to win your Personal Injury claim]

Record the injury

Record the details of your accident in the Accident Book. Make sure you state the details and that you do not sign any record that does not match your version of the events. Keep a copy.

See a Doctor

See the first aid officer at work, but you should also make sure that you see your GP or go to Accident and Emergency. Record how you are treated at work and make a note of who you see in A&E.  If your employer tries to stop you from seeking medical attention, they are in breach of the law.

Attend all your medical appointments

Keep a diary entry of all your medical appointments. If you are back at work but still receiving treatment for your injuries, your employer must allow you to attend these appointments.

Record your expenditure and losses

Compensation in a personal injury claim is intended to put you in the position you would have been in if you had not been injured. Keep a record of your expenditure and losses. Examples are lost wages, commission, bonuses, transport costs etc.

Raise a Grievance

If you were injured because of a problem at work such as faulty equipment, manual handling errors or slip and trip, you should raise a grievance about it - see Grievance Builder

Keep a diary of your symptoms

Note all your symptoms, and the treatment that you are receiving for them.

Insist on lighter duties

If your job involves hard physical labour such as heavy lifting, carrying, climbing or standing for long periods, your employer has a duty to make adjustments on your return to work by placing you on lighter duties whilst you recover.

Sick pay

You are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as a minimum. Your employment contract may give you a greater amount of contractual sick pay. Check your employment contract, or ask your employer for the sick pay policy. Make sure that your employer has registered you for SSP.  If you not sure contact the job center.

Whose fault is it?

Every employer is responsible for protecting employees, contractors and visitors from all accidents and injuries. This means that they have to:

  • Give employees all the necessary machinery and tools to do their jobs.
  • Make sure that machines and tools are maintained to a safe condition.
  • The workplace is kept in a safe and tidy condition.
  • Employees are provided with suitable workstations and chairs and the floor and corridors should be clean and free from hazards.
  • Doors and gates are not obstructed.
  • Train all employees who lift heavy objects on how to do this safely.
  • Provide all employees with any safety wear they need to do their jobs, such as ear defenders, dust masks, high vis. jackets, goggles, safety boots etc.

You are also responsible for your own health and safety as well as your colleagues. You might find that any compensation claim you make fails, or the amount you receive is reduced, if you contributed to the accident through your own carelessness. But if you made a mistake because you were not trained or did not see a hazard that should not have been there in the first place, then that would be your employer’s problem not yours. This also applies to occupational illnesses and accidents. Similar rules apply where you are self-employed or a visitor rather than an employee.


The main rules on reporting of accidents are the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (known as RIDDOR). Make sure there is a record of the accident. Under RIDDOR, your employer has to notify the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority of any accident arising or in connection with work that results in: -

  • Death
  • Major injury (for example amputation, fractures, chemical burns, loss of sight and any injury that requires hospital attendance of more than twenty four hours)
  • Hospital treatment of a person not at work, or as a result of an accident in connection with work at a hospital,
  • Any dangerous occurrence
  • Any work related accident in which a worker is incapacitated for more than 3 days
  • Death of an employee within a year of being injured as a result of a notifiable accident (whether or not the accident was reported at the time it actually occurred)
  • Any worker suffering from a “reportable” work-related disease
  • Any “gas incident”.

Self-employed workers are covered by the regulations if they were working under the control of someone else. Here, the responsibility for reporting falls on the person in control of the premises at which the accident happened.

Records of notifiable accidents and dangerous occurrences must be kept for a period of at least 3 years, and kept at the usual place of work to which they relate. An accident book must be kept by every employer that normally employs 10 or more persons on or around the premises in connection with a trade or business.

Last Updated: [11/09/2021]