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Before workers formed unions and had adequate representation with employers and management, the workplace could be a dangerous place.

Despite stringent health and safety regulations in the UK, accidents at work still occur.

Heavy industry wasn’t the only area in which accidents were common and before legislation was passed granting workers rights and ensuring employers took responsibility, there was little or no redress for those who became victims.

In those days the safety of workers was often sacrificed in the name of productivity. Today there is a far higher standard of safety across the board and employment conditions are regulated, but accidents which could be avoided still occur.

Safeguarding people in their particular workplace environment can have different complications depending on the type of work involved, and of course there are still many jobs which are more dangerous than others by their very definition.

However, even most people who work in offices, shops or lighter industry factories in the most controlled environments can still fall foul of lax practices or situations where safety measures have not been implemented correctly.

Workers’ rights

The UK was a pioneer in enshrining workers rights in law and today health and safety regulations in the workplace are some of the most stringent in the world.

It is the legal duty of every employer to ensure that regulations are adhered to and that working practices are set up in such a way as to present the minimum risk. Breaches which result in injury or illness can lay the basis for a successful accident at work claim and subsequent financial compensation.

Hazards

Obviously certain occupations carry with them greater risks than others. This is sometimes reflected in higher salaries, but often general manual labouring jobs and other unskilled occupations don’t benefit from this kind of recognition.

Of course, there can be potential hazards in any given workplace. A faulty chair in an office can cause quite serious injury if it collapses, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a common but avoidable complaint and ‘white finger’ and lifting injuries are both regularly found in the more physical lines of work.

If any of these kinds of injuries are caused using faulty equipment, there may be the basis for the employer to be held responsible via a work accident compensation claim.

Essentially any accident that you may have during the course of a work-related activity and which is not of your own causing could mean that you have a right to compensation.

Depending on the severity of any injury or illness that you suffer as a result, as long as it arises from some form of negligence on the employer’s part, it is likely to form the basis for a claim which would see you receive the level of compensation you deserve.

What to do

The first thing that anyone involved in any type of workplace accident should do is seek immediate medical help for any obvious injuries. Any injury that is suffered should be checked by a medical professional as quickly as possible, whether it is a trained person on site or a member of the emergency services.

This will not only alleviate any immediate problems but also ensure that there is an official record of the direct results of the accident in case it is needed later. In some cases, problems only come to light later and subsequent visits to GPs or hospitals can help build a case for compensation too.

It is also extremely important to report any workplace accident to management or whoever is in a responsible position as soon as you can and make sure everything in logged through the official channels. Next level management should be made aware of all the circumstances regarding other people involved and all the details surrounding how the incident happened.

Internal procedures

Most companies will have a set procedure to investigate any accidents or injuries and will take the time to carefully consider what happened before coming to a decision. You may well have a good employer who will take responsibility where needed and offer to settle any claims quickly and simply.

If you feel pressured by an employer or that your claim is not being treated fairly, contact a solicitor.

However, in most cases it is always worth seeking independent advice on the situation.

Solicitors

If you feel that your personal injury claim is not being treated seriously or fairly, or if you feel unduly pressured by an employer or their insurance company, you should contact an experienced employment law specialist.

It is easy and straightforward to find out if you are in a good position to make a claim when you take impartial independent advice. A solicitor will most likely offer some form of ‘no win no fee’ deals if they feel you have a strong case and this means that you don’t have to worry about costs if unsuccessful.

Statistically if you lodge a successful claim through a solicitor you are far more likely to receive a higher compensation figure that you may have initially been offered by an insurance company. This is because having your own legal representation means that you have someone fighting your case for you, with your best interests at heart.