Can I be Sacked for Having an Accident at Work?

Whether in the office, factory, or warehouse, experiencing an Accident at Work can be highly traumatic.

According to the HSE, over 51,000 injuries were reported under RIDDOR in 2020/2021, and there will have been many more that weren’t reported.

When you experience an injury that requires medical assistance or means you’re unable to work, it’s only natural that you’ll want to be financially compensated for it. However, you may worry that you’ll be sacked by claiming compensation.

This short guide will explain what your employee must do to keep you safe, and what you are entitled to.

Your employer’s responsibilities when it comes to health and safety

Under legislation like the Health & Safety at Work Act, employers must provide a safe working environment for all staff members. It doesn’t matter if you work for an international organisation or a small family-owned local business; the rules are the same.

This means your employer must take steps to ensure you are fully trained to do your job and provide a safe, risk-free working environment.

For example, let’s say your employer expects you to drive a forklift truck as part of your duties, but doesn’t provide the appropriate training. If you have an accident, your employer is liable.

If there is proof that you were entirely at fault for your accident, you may be fired for gross misconduct, and you may not be eligible for unfair dismissal.

For example, if you use a forklift truck at work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

So, can I lose my job if I make a claim?

If the accident was your employer’s fault, they can’t sack you.

They also can’t sack you, or threaten to sack you, for starting a compensation claim, as long as your claim is honest.

If they do sack you, you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal. If they make your working environment bad to the point that you have to hand in your notice, you may be able to claim for constructive dismissal.

My employer claims they don’t have the money for a personal injury claim

The majority of UK businesses must have an adequate level of liability insurance of at least £5 million under the Employer’s Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act. Liability insurance means companies are insured in the event that an employee brings forward a claim if they become ill or injured.

This means your employer can cover the cost of your personal injury claim through insurance. They don’t have to dig into their profits to pay you.

Can I be sacked for refusing to do my job?

It is against the law for employees to be forced to carry out a part of their job that they feel is a ‘serious and imminent danger’ to their health.

Similarly, an employee or worker cannot be fired for refusing to carry out a part of their job that is unsafe. If they are, they can claim for unfair dismissal.

The importance of reporting accidents

All accidents and ‘near misses’ must be reported to the relevant people in your organisation, typically whoever is responsible for Health and Safety. If there are over ten employees in a business, accidents need to be recorded in an accident book.

This is so they can review the accident and take action to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and so there is a contemporaneous record of its occureance.

Let’s say you work on the top floor of a building, the kitchen is on the bottom floor, and you trip up the stairs while carrying a hot drink. A health and safety-savvy business may put drink-making facilities on the top floor to prevent this type of accident from re-occurring.

If accidents are recorded, and nothing is done about them, it could only be a matter of time before something dangerous happens as a result.

If you’ve been involved in a workplace accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible for compensation. We specialise in personal injury claims, meaning our team of experts can help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.

Call us today to arrange your free consultation on 0151 909 6120.