Health and safety at work

If your work has more health and safety risks than Total Wipeout, make sure you know who to talk to if you have an injury and how to get compensation.

Broken egg in a hard hat

Who knew working as an egg on a building site was so dangerous?

I’ve had an injury at work, what should I do?

First off, write it down in the ‘accident book’. If your work doesn’t have one of these, write it down anyway – or record it online – and give your boss a copy too.

Go and see a doctor (even if you think it’s relatively minor) because if you develop an illness, or the injury continues to cause you problems, you may need this as evidence to claim benefits or compensation.

If you have to take any time off due to your injury, make sure you claim sick pay.

Can I get compensation?

You could get money for the pain caused, loss of future earnings, medical expenses, or any other cash you’ve spent or lost out on. Get advice beforehand, though, because there are lots of ways you can claim and it can be complicated and time consuming. And bear in mind there’s also a three-year time limit to when you can start legal action. Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau before you make any decisions.

If you become ill or disabled because of an injury at work, you may be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. The amount you get depends on the level of your disability.

If you just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again and are happy to accept an apology, you could simply go through the company’s complaints procedure. But don’t expect a ‘sorry’ straight away – some companies have a drawn-out bureaucratic system, so you could be waiting a while.

If I see a health and safety risk, what shall I do?

If you think something’s unsafe the first person you should tell is your boss. If they don’t do anything about it, tell the Health and safety executive or your trade union. Your boss can’t sack you for this as it’s against the law.

If you think there’s an immediate danger to you or your colleagues you have the right to leave the building until the problem is fixed.

Although it’s your boss’s responsibility to protect your welfare while you’re at work, it’s also your responsibility to keep yourself and others safe. That means you have to work with your employer to stay safe and healthy and follow procedures they give you. However, if your boss asks you to do something you think is unsafe, you’re allowed to refuse.

Next Steps

  • Acas offers free advice about everything to do with employment law. 0300 123 1100
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


work rights


Updated on 29-Sep-2015