What to do if you are hurt at work

Regardless of your employment status, your employer has a duty of care towards you. This means that if you are hurt at work, you may be able to claim compensation from them. It will help your case enormously if you follow the correct procedure. Here is some guidance.

Get medical attention straight away

Your first port of call should be the company’s first aider. After this, you should decide if you need to go to your doctor or a hospital straight away or if you can wait until you are due to leave work. Generally, you should lean towards the former, not just for your sake, but for the sake of any colleagues who may have to look after you if you take a turn for the worse.

Make sure the incident is reported to the relevant people

As a minimum, you need to inform your line manager and complete a report of the accident. Ideally, you should do this immediately after the incident, before leaving to see a doctor or go to the hospital. Obviously, whether or not this is feasible will depend on your injuries.

Make your own notes, preferably supported by photographs/video

Whether or not you can take photos or videos will depend partly on your injuries and partly on your place of work. Some places have legitimate reasons for banning employees from taking photos/videos, usually the need to maintain a high degree of security. If you work in such a place, you can ask permission to take photos/videos for you but your employer may refuse out of legitimate security concerns.

For most people, however, high security will not be an issue so work on the basis that it is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission and take as many photos/as much video as you can.

Record everything you can remember about the lead-up to the incident along with your recollection of what happened and the end result. Usually, the easiest way to do this is with your phone’s voice recorder. If, however, you prefer writing/drawing then do so and take pictures of your notes/drawings immediately afterwards as a safeguard against loss.

Again, you should ideally do this immediately after the incident. You could even do it on the way to the doctor’s or hospital (assuming you’re not driving).

Go to the doctor/hospital

It is strongly recommended to go to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible. You want to start your treatment as soon as possible and you also want verification of your injuries. Keep track of all expenses (including incidental ones like transport) and your treatment.

Write up your notes

Turn your notes into a proper, written record as quickly as you can. Keep all photos and videos, even if you think they’re not actually relevant after all. A lawyer is in a better position to judge that than you.

Keep a journal of everything related to your injury/illness

Record any consequences you experience and expenses you incur along with your symptoms and your treatment.

Enlist the help of a trustworthy colleague

It can be helpful to speak to a trustworthy colleague and ask them to keep track of any changes made at your workplace. Your employer may have legitimate reasons for making these, for example, they may wish to prevent other employees from hurting themselves as you did, but they can also muddy the waters regarding who was responsible for an incident. Ideally, your colleague will photograph or video any changes, at least they should take detailed records.

Speak to a lawyer

Do not try to handle this situation yourself. Find a reputable lawyer and put the issue in their hands.