What is an employer’s responsibility if an employee is injured at work?

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) governs the laws on health and safety management in the workplace. Every business should have a policy for managing health and safety and should detail who has specific responsibilities, the general health and safety policy and what practical arrangements are in place, showing how policy aims will be achieved.

Employers must make ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessments. For businesses with more than five employees, risk assessments must be written down and should record the hazard, how that hazard may harm people and what is already being done to control this hazard.

Despite taking all reasonable measures to ensure a safe working environment, there will always be a risk of an accident in the workplace. If an employee is injured at work, there are a number of things an employer should do:

• Report all accidents. Businesses with more than 10 employees must keep an accident book, in which all accidents, no matter how minor, should be recorded. More severe injuries such as serious burns, occupational diseases, gas incidents and death must be reported in a report under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) within 15 days of the accident.

• Notify the employer’s insurance company. It is important to notify the insurance company as soon as an accident occurs. This is so a claims investigator can be appointed to investigate the accident immediately in case it turns out to be much more serious than anticipated and a claim is made against the business.

• Improve health & safety. Revisiting risk assessments will allow employers to prevent similar accidents.

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