Getting hurt, potentially with serious, chronical implications, is a constant risk surrounding us. Accidents at the workplace in particular not only pose physical risks to employees but can also have significant financial repercussions for both individuals and businesses alike. Knowing the implications of such potentially devastating and lifechanging accidents is crucial for employees to protect their income and for employers to maintain a safe work environment compliant with our UK regulations.

Medical Expenses & Statutory Sick Pay

While our National Health Service (NHS) provides healthcare free at the point of delivery – meaning that we as patients don’t need to pay for services delivered to us -, workplace injuries can still result in costs associated with services such as rehabilitation, physiotherapy, or similar medical expenses. These costs can add up – especially if the injured employee requires long-term medical care. 

Coupled with the Statuary Sick Pay (SSE) that workers may be entitled to due to a workplace injury, which is usually way lower than regular wages (currently £109.40 for up to 28 weeks), this can lead to quite a financial strain. Particularly if the injury results in an extended absence from work, potentially changing into even lower Employment and Support Allowance of a rate of up to £67.20 a week when aged under 25, up to £84.80 a week if you’re over.

Legal Costs and Compensation Claims

If the injury wasn’t the employee’s fault, legal action against their employer can be pursued and workplace accident compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and medical expenses that aren’t covered by the NHS can be sought. Way over half a million working people have sustained injuries over the last year at work and there is an estimated £1.4 billion in personal injury compensation that remain unclaimed. A colossus sums of money that should be used to alleviate the financial burden of the injured.

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Here in the UK, employers are legally required to have a so-called employer’s liability insurance, to cover the costs of compensation claims from employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. While this insurance provides financial protection for them, premiums can increase – and in cases where they are found o be negligent or in breach of health and safety regulations set up by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), they may even face fines. 

What Can be Done to Mitigate Those Impacts? 

And while the risk of accidents can’t be completely negated, proactive measures can be taken still. The employer should always ensure they in compliance with the UK’s health and safety regulations – including risk assessments, providing appropriate training, and implementing safety measures. Fostering a culture of safety where employees feel empowered to report hazards and raise concerns can help prevent injuries, too. If you feel like your workplace is violating these laws, please don’t hesitate to make a report directly to the HSE.