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How do I deal with a serious injury at work?

  • Blog
  • 01 March 2017

As an employer, it’s your job to ensure the full safety of your employees. But accidents and injuries can happen, even if your business has a strict and compliant health and safety policy.

So what should you do if a serious injury happens in your work? This guide explains the key steps to follow and what to consider.

How do I deal with a serious injury at work?

Act quickly and get medical help

As soon as you’re aware of a staff injury, you should act quickly and attend to the employee immediately. It’s important that you call the emergency services to ask for an ambulance and carry out first aid if you can. For instance, you might need to bandage wounds or put the employee into the recovery position.

By law, you must be able to provide your employees with basic first aid equipment, like plasters and bandages. While you wait for an ambulance to arrive, it’s important you stay with the injured employee to keep them safe and warm. Consider wrapping them in a blanket and providing a glass of water to keep them hydrated if they are conscious.

Isolate the area to prevent further injury

You should ensure the safety of both your injured employee and other staff too. So it’s important to isolate the area where the incident took place, as soon as you can, to stop your other employees being exposed to the same hazard and to prevent further injury.

This might include sealing off a slippery corridor or a floor that’s covered in broken glass, and placing a hazard sign to warn of the danger. You should also preserve the scene for when you later conduct a health and safety investigation – see below.

Record incident details

It’s important that you record details of the incident. This is a legal requirement and should include the time and date of the injury, where in your company it took place, and a brief description of what happened.

Ideally, you should write this in an accident record book. This should hold a record of all the dates and details of incidents that have taken place at your company since it went into operation.

Inform key people

You should contact the person the injured employee has named as their emergency contact – partner or family member, for instance – to notify them about their injury, as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to keep them updated on important developments, like when and where they’ve been taken to hospital. You should also inform you other employees of the accident, so consider holding a staff meeting.

Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, employers are also legally obliged to report serious work-related accidents to the HSE Incident Contact Centre. So you should contact them when you can. At some point, it’s also important to contact your legal adviser to update them about the incident, get advice and protect your legal rights.

Conduct an investigation

Once the key people are informed, you should carry out an investigation to find out exactly what happened, what caused the injury, and understand what you can do to prevent further incidents. To do this you should:

Carry out a risk assessment – look for potential hazards of where the incident took place, so you know how to do to prevent others occurring.

Check your CCTV –Your security cameras might reveal what happened, if you have them installed.

Speak to your staff – talk to those employees who were witnesses to the injury to find out who, or what, was to blame. You should follow relevant disciplinary procedures if you discover staff violated your health and safety policy.

Provide care and support

Following the incident, you should do what you can to ensure your injured employee makes a full recovery and successfully returns to work. Keep in touch with them and offer options for them to work, while avoiding unnecessary stress, such as working from home or part time.

You should also put the safety of your other staff as a priority. It’s wise to speak to them to get their feedback on your health and safety, so you can make your business even safer for them.

How we can help you prevent staff injuries

Preventing accidents and injuries in your business to ensure the safety of your employees can come down to making sure your company is up-to-date with relevant legislation and regulations. To help with this, we provide our members with a health and safety service. This provides access to:

  • Fact sheets, including documents about accident reporting and conducting risk assessments
  • Safety regulations you need for your business
  • Round-the-clock advice from industry experts on our Legal Advice Helpline  

To learn more about how we can help keep your employees safe in your business, please visit our FSB Health and Safety Advice page.

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