Accident Work: Will a return to work affect my UK accident at work compensation claim?
Accident work: I was working on a building site in poor lighting carrying a piece of wood with a workmate when I fell into a concealed hole in the ground. As I fell I managed to grab hold of the entrance to the hole badly twisting my spine, but thankfully stopping me from falling to the bottom.
The hole should have been covered. I reported the matter to the workplace health and safety representative and my injury was recorded in the accident book.
I attended at hospital and was told that I had damaged muscles in my back and the injury would persist for some time.
I have had two days off work and my employer is putting pressure for me to return tomorrow – it has been suggested I need only sit in the office.
A: The steps you should consider before returning to the workplace following an accident and the effect on your potential accident at work claim as follows:
1. Ensure you have been medically verified as able to return to work
You have been diagnosed with a back injury and told by the hospital that you are unable to work – it is not a good idea to return until you are feeling better and you are cleared by your GP to return.
You will find that sitting for long periods puts a lot of pressure on your spine, so you could risk a much protracted recovery period or a worsening of your injury.
As your employer was responsible for your original accident it might be that an aggravation due to sitting is also your employer’s responsibility, but in theory this would be a separate claim.
2. The effect on the level of compensation you might recover in an accident at work claim if you return to work too soon
If you chose to return to work against your GP recommendations you might find that you bear some or all of the responsibility for a worsening of your injury.
The effect might be a greatly reduced work accident compensation payment.
If you really wish to consider a return to work I suggest you speak with your GP for his view on the suitability of your return. If he says no – I think a return would be foolish.
Click accident at work compensation to see what you can claim from your employer as part of your workplace compensation.
3. Why would an employer want you to return as soon as possible following an accident at work?
There are several reasons an employer might want you to return as soon as possible following an accident at work. In your particular case it is likely that your employer does not wish to make a RIDDOR report to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
RIDDOR is an abbreviation for Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations – an employer must make a report to the HSE following an accident at work in certain circumstances including absence from work for three days or more.
It seems your employer wants your back so that a RIDDOR report does not have to be made.
Click accident in the workplace to read the other occasions when an RIDDOR report must be made following a work place injury.
4. The significance to your accident work claim of a RIDDOR report to the Health and Safety Executive
When the Health and Safety Executive are notified of your work accident it will investigate and document what happened. It will look at accident book entries, witness evidence and any workplace risk assessment.
All of these documents must be sent to your solicitor when you start your accident at work claim and can be used to show that your employer was at fault.
Click accidents at work for a page I have written setting out links to the Health and Safety Executive website and other useful informative websites
5. Free online legal help with your accident at work claim
I would be happy to call you free of charge to explain in detail all the considerations you must take into account before you return to work and to discuss your work injury claim.
Simply click accident work to request I call you in person or choose from a selection of free online help options my website offers with your accident work claim.