Accident at Work | Employer Responsibility
Accidents at work that result in personal injury* can be completely avoidable inconveniences, in most cases. There are obligations on every employer in Ireland (Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005), whether they are a large construction company or small newsagents, to ensure that an employee’s health and welfare at work is as far as possible, reasonably protected in order to avoid a workplace accident and personal injury*.
Equally, the employee who can suffer the injury at work is expected to act responsibly within the workplace and avoid intentionally putting themselves at risk of an injury in the workplace. Therefore, there has to be a willing understanding between both parties to minimise work hazards.
What must an employer do to help avoid workplace accidents?
If a workplace accident has occurred and an employee suffers a personal injury, depending on the role the employee works in, an employee can check the following items to ensure that the employer had complied with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and provide the safest workplace possible.
An employer must:
- maintain a safe workplace, machinery and equipment
- use appropriate measures to prevent risks that may come from the use of any article or substance and prevent risks from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration
- prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk
- ensure that employees are constantly up to date on all health and safety measures needed for their role. An example of this would be manual handling courses
- provide protective clothing and equipment to employees (at no cost to employees)
- appoint a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer
- carry out a risk assessment for the workplace which should identify potential hazards that could lead to a workplace accident
In conclusion, employers have a legal duty to ensure that safety operations are in place to protect their employees.
Does an employer have to report the workplace accident?
Where an accident at work occurs an employer must report the accident to the Health and Safety Authority. Employers are legally obliged to report the accident if the worker cannot perform his duties for three consecutive days. Furthermore, it is worth noting that in this three day count the day of the accident at work is excluded. Due to the injury, the employee may be entitled to damages for the injury suffered.
For more information on the health and safety obligations of an employer and what they must to do help avoid and prevent personal injury at work visit the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland.