Understanding Compensation: A Guide for Employees

Understanding Compensation: A Guide for Employees

According to the Health and Safety Executive, the average non-fatal injury-at-work rate in the UK is 1,750 per 100,000 workers – that is, 1.75% of the workforce. Accidents happen, and unfortunately often; preparing for them is difficult, even with well-structured workplace systems in place. Workers may not be able to control their exposure to accident risk in this way, but they can control their response to it – and may even be able to claim compensation. But how does employee compensation work today?

Employer Liability

In order to properly understand the power of compensation for workers in the UK, it is first prudent to understand the fundaments of employer liability and civil recourse. The specific piece of legislation that enshrines a worker’s right to seek compensation for suffering a workplace accident is the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1897; the Act establishes employer liability for any worker injuries not the fault of the worker in question.

The Act builds upon previously-enshrined notions of public liability and negligence. Duty of care had already been somewhat acknowledged, though first with regard to businesses and their customers. The WCA 1897 combined these considerations to create what would be the fundaments for contemporary civil legislation surrounding personal injury and workplaces.

Compensation and the Workplace

Today, workers are able to seek compensatory measures in response to a wide variety of incidents, events and illnesses. Workers in different trades may be exposed to different occupational hazards, and hence experience different levels of risk for each potentiality.

The most common kinds of compensation-eligible workplace injury are accidents; if a worker slips, trips or otherwise falls on-site, there may be grounds to put in a claim based on an improperly-kept workplace. For industrial workers, machinery presents a significant hazard, and especially if not properly maintained through regular servicing. Construction tradespeople risk injury from a variety of on-site hazards, from working at height to working with industrial vehicles.


Civil Processes and Steps for Employees

If a worker suffers an accident or injury of any kind on site, it is important that said injury is properly and accurately reported in a workplace incident book. This enables accurate reporting to RIDDOR, and ensures an account of events is available for staff. 

The injured party should, where possible, retrieve witness testimony and other evidence (including CCTV camera footage. This information can be invaluable for the building of a civil case, if only to allow a legal professional to evaluate the strength of the claim in question.

Recovery is a vital part of the process, even if not directly assisting with legal proceedings. At the point at which a solicitor’s services are hired, the worker can focus largely on their recuperation and eventual return to work. In spite of civil proceedings, the workplace in question is not allowed to retaliate against the worker’s claim through modifying or terminating their position – unless they are in their first two years of employment.

Editorial Team
This article was written by Editorial a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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