Myths about accidents in the workplace

Image credit: Shutterstock

By Ellie Campbell, a freelance content writer and campaign manager for Thompsons Scotland

THERE is no denying that workplaces have become a whole lot safer over the years. Thankfully statistics show that accidents at work have been steadily falling. Yet the numbers are still high- HSE reported that 1.6 million people suffered from workplace-related illnesses in 2019/20, with 65,427 injuries reported to RIDDOR.

From simple cuts, slips and trips to serious accidents that could change the course of your life, the danger is out there.

The topic of workplace accidents still has a lot of mystery surrounding it. There are several common myths that put people off reporting an accident or taking steps to get what they are owed. Here we will delve into some of the most common myths surrounding workplace accidents and decide if they are fact or fiction

I can get fired for reporting an accident

Let’s put your mind at rest straight away: This one is false. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common fears surrounding accidents at work. Many people will just deal with an injury and move on without adding it to the reporting book or letting a manager know for fear it could impact their job prospects. The good news is that you are 100% protected when it comes to reporting an accident in Scotland (and England too). Don’t let the threat of losing a job stop you from highlighting accidents when they happen.

I can’t speak to my colleagues about the accident

Another common misconception is that you can’t discuss your accident with other employees, especially if you are seeking compensation for it (which we will get to later). In fact, speaking to colleagues is one of the best things you can do. If others witnessed your accident, their account could be essential. Not only will it help if you do pursue a claim, but it can also prove that the accident was not your fault. On a more personal basis discussing your accident will hopefully mean it is less likely to happen to others.

Filing a claim for compensation is expensive and difficult

So, let’s get to the compensation part. Accidents that seriously impact your wellbeing or financial situation are not to be taken lightly. If you can show that the accident was not your fault, then seeking compensation is not only a right but is to be advised. The myth here is that the claims process is time consuming, difficult and expensive. In reality, yes – they can be time-consuming, but by choosing an experienced solicitor such as Thompsons Scotland you won’t be the person spending time on it. A good solicitor will be able to do the majority of the work on the case for you, making the whole process simple. If you are worried about the expense, look for a no win no fee solicitor so you will not be out of pocket should the decision not go your way. If you do win, any fees will be taken care of by the settlement.

I have to file right away

Not true. A general rule is that it is better to file as quickly as possible. However, the law states that you have three years to bring about a case (this can be extended in certain circumstances such as exposure to asbestos). The extent of an injury is not always immediately apparent. What may seem like a simple sprain at the time could result in the need for months of physio or even surgery further down the line. If you believe that an accident at work has negatively impacted your life, then you would be wise to seek advice to find out if you could be due compensation.

Now that we have busted some workplace accident myths, we hope you will feel secure in your rights about what to do should one happen to you.