It is a legal requirement to record accidents at work whether in an Accident Book or by some other official means. There are specific workplace incidents and “near misses” as well as work-related diseases that by law must be reported to RIDDOR. If you work for an employer who does not have an Accident Book, you should send either a personal email or a letter sent recorded delivery to your employer that provides an in-depth report of the accident and the injuries you suffered while at work, remembering to retain a copy for your own records.
To find out more about reporting accidents at work, your employer’s responsibility to ensure this has been done and what happens if an employer does not report an accident in the workplace, please read on.
What Are Reportable Accidents and Incidents at Work?
As previously mentioned, there are specific workplace accidents, near misses and work-related health issues that employees may develop due to the work they do that by law must be reported to RIDDOR, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. Should your employer fail in their duty send a report to the authority, they run the risk of receiving hefty fines. Reportable incidents, accidents and dangerous occurrences in the workplace are detailed below:
- Accidents at work that result in fatalities
- Accidents in which employees and other staff suffer serious injuries and as a consequence have to take more than seven days off work in row
- Industrial diseases
- Near-misses deemed dangerous (dangerous occurrences)
- Members of the public injured in a work environment
An employer or the person in charge of a work environment is legally obliged to report any of the above incidents to RIDDOR as soon as it is feasibly possible followed by an official report of the incident being sent to the authority within ten days of the report having been sent.
With this said, any injuries that are referred to as “over-seven-days”, the report has to be sent to the authority within fifteen days of an incident happening. It is also worth noting that “over-3-day” injuries must be officially recorded either in an Accident Book or by some other means but do not need to be reported to RIDDOR. If an employer has an Accident Book, it means they are adhering to the Social Security (Claim and Payments) Regulations Act.
Over-3-day injuries refer to those that incapacitate a employee or other worker for more than three days in a row. In short, they are unable to do their “normal” duties in the workplace which does not include days off or weekends which also applies to “over-7-day” injuries.
Would an Employer Get Fined For Not Recording or Reporting Accidents at Work?
Should your employer fail to report an incident that must, by law be reported to RIDDOR, they would receive hefty fines through a magistrates court which can be anything up to £20,000 or they could receive an unlimited fine through the Crown Court. As an employee who was injured in an accident at work, you have the right to ask an employer whether the incident was reported to the relevant authority or not.
Would My Accident at Work Claim be Valid If Not Reported?
If you do not have a report of the accident at work that left you injured, it may be harder for you to claim compensation. However, if you have an official medical report of the injuries you sustained in the workplace, this will certainly help strengthen your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer would be able to build a case against your employer using the report. With this said, the more evidence you have the stronger a claim would be. The sort of proof you would need to provide would include the following:
- Photos of your injuries which should ideally be taken before you receive any medical treatment
- Photos of where the workplace accident occurred – if there is CCTV footage, your employer must provide this when you request that they do
- Statements from fellow workers and other people who witnessed the workplace accident
- Contact details of all witnesses
- Records of previous accidents and incidents in the workplace
What if My Employer Ignores Health and Safety at Work Regulations?
An employer is legally obliged to ensure that a work environment is safe and that they have set in place “all reasonable” measures to reduce the risk of harm coming to employees, other workers and anyone who visits the business. Should you or any other person, or fellow worker sustain injuries in a workplace accident because your employer ignored the law, they would be deemed negligent and could receive fines on top of the accident at work compensation the injured party would receive in a successful personal injury claim lodged against them.
Employers should also designate first-aid officers in a workplace and they must ensure that the correct first-aid supplies are available so that should you sustain an injury in an accident at work, the person who is designated as a first-aid officer would be able to provide any initial treatment that you may required.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured in an Accident at Work?
Even if you are not thinking about seeking compensation from an employer by filing an accident at work claim, there are certain steps that must be taken if you are injured which are listed below:
- Make sure the workplace accident is reported either to the person in charge or your employer directly
- Make sure you follow the correct procedure as set out by an employer if you are injured at work
- If you cannot report the incident yourself because your injuries prevent you from doing so, you have the right to ask a trusted fellow worker to report it on your behalf. You also have the right to check that all the details have been correctly recorded when you are able to
- Make sure you get as much evidence as you can which includes photos of your injuries, where and when the accident at work occurred, witness statements and their contact details
Although you may not wish to claim compensation at first, you could find that a little further down the line what you thought were minor injuries were in fact, a lot more serious. As such, having gathered as much proof that you sustained your injuries while carrying out your work, the stronger your claim against an employer would be even if you have waited a week or two before filing an accident at work claim against them.
Is There Anything I Should Not Do If I Am Injured in an Accident at Work?
If you are injured in the workplace, there are specific things that you must not do and this includes if you think you may be partly liable for the injuries you suffered. The reason being that you should discuss your case with an accident at work solicitor first because they may be able to prove “contributory” negligence on the part of your employer. This would entitle you to seek compensation from them although the amount you may be awarded would take into account the level of responsibility you are deemed to have had.
Other things that you must avoid doing if you are involved in an accident at work and suffered injuries includes the following:
- Do not sign anything – even if your employer hints that you may lose your job or be made redundant if you don’t. It is worth noting that if an employer insists that you sign a document admitting liability for the workplace injuries you sustained, a judge could well disregard the document because it could be deemed that you were forced to sign it and therefore it would not be seen as an admission of liability
Could My Boss Sack Me if I Insist That They Report an Accident at Work?
An employer must have a very good reason other than the fact that you are injured in an accident at work and you insisted that the incident be officially recorded whether in the Accident Book, by some other means or to RIDDOR. Should your boss try to intimidate you, threaten you or even hint that you stand a good chance of being fired, you must seek legal advice from a solicitor because your employer would be in breach of the law. This could entitle you to seek further compensation from them.
The fact that an employer hesitates, refuses or just does not want to report a workplace accident to RIDDOR, could leave them open to a hefty fine. Should your case go before the Crown Court, as previously mentioned, the fine your boss would receive could be “unlimited”. On top of this, the fact that an employer receives fine would add tremendous strength to your case against your boss.
What is the Time Limit To Reporting an Incident to RIDDOR?
Accidents that leave employees suffering from severe injuries, work-related diseases, near-misses and fatalities must be reported to RIDDOR immediately or as soon after the incident occurrence as possible. This can be done through the RIDDOR website. However, this initial report must be followed up with a written report of the incident within ten days following the initial report that was sent to the authority.
What is the Time Limit To Filing an Accident at Work Claim?
Accident at work claims for compensation must be filed within 3 years of an incident occurring. With this said, the 3 years can begin at different times which is explained below:
- Three years from when you were injured while carrying out your job at work
- Three years from when you turn 18 should the workplace accident have happened before this date
- Three years from when you are diagnosed as suffering from a health condition linked to the injuries you sustained in the accident at work
If you wait for too long, you may find that your claim against an employer could end up being “time barred”. In short, this means that even if you have plenty of evidence proving employer negligence, you would not be able to file an accident at work claim against them. However, should your employer have been fined by either a magistrate or in the Crown Court for not having reportable injury to RIDDOR, a lawyer may be able to provide crucial legal advice on whether you could still seek compensation from your employer.
Can I File an Accident at Work Claim If There is No Record of the Incident?
Although it would be not such a straightforward case, you can still file an accident at work claim if there is no record of the incident. You should always seek medical attention when injured while carrying out a job whether you believe your injuries are slight or more severe. Having a medical report of the workplace injuries you sustained would add weight to your case. Other evidence you would need to provide to prove an accident at work that has not be reported, would include the following:
- Witness statements
- Witness contact details
- Photos of the injury you suffered
- Photos of where the incident occurred
- CCTV footage of the accident if available
- Records of previous workplace accidents
If the accident at work that left you injured was “reportable” to RIDDOR, you should ask your employer or the person in charge if this has been done. If not, your employer would be liable to receive a hefty fine from the enforcing authority which could be up to £20,000 if the case goes before a magistrate. However, should the case be heard in a Crown Court, the fine would be unlimited.
Would a Personal Injury Lawyer Work on My Case on No Win No Fee Basis?
Once a personal injury lawyer has assessed your claim and they believe you have a very good chance of winning whether your case goes to court or your employer’s insurers decide that an out of court settlement would be the best route to take, the solicitor would work on your claim having signed a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee agreement). This takes all the stress of finding the money to pay the solicitor and the only time that you would have to pay, is when you win your case. On top of this, the amount that would be due to the solicitor would be taken out of the accident at work compensation you are awarded. Should your case not win, you would have no legal fees to pay for the legal advice and representation you received from a personal injury lawyer.
If you were injured in the workplace and would like more information relating the law on employees keeping an Accident Book, the following link provides more in-depth information on the topic:
If you sustained a serious injury in the workplace and would like to know if a report needed to be sent to RIDDOR, the link provided below lists all the incidents and injuries that must by law be reported to the authority: