Workers’ compensation offers financial protection for an employer, yet it doesn’t guarantee immunity. As with all the rules, there are exceptions, which is why business owners should exercise caution. While employees can’t theoretically sue for work-related accidents, there are some exceptions when they can hold their employers accountable for compensation. Let’s take an example. If the guards on a power press have been removed, the employee has a case against the employer for work-related amputation. Although it’s complicated and it can take a long time, the employee won’t think twice about claiming compensation. It’s better to prevent workplace accidents, which implies getting a good understanding of the safety risks in the work environment.
Private-sector employers have to do their best to comply with the health and safety legislation. Individuals must be protected from sickness, disease, and injury resulting from their employment. In Great Britain alone, 65, 427 non-fatal injuries were reported to employers in 2019/20. Additionally, 38.8 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries. The estimates are based on self-reports from the Labour Force Survey. The experts at UKLaw.co.uk highlight the fact that losses translate into compensation, loss of productivity, training and reconversion, not to mention health care expenditure. Needless to say, workplace accidents can negatively affect a business. Even companies that take precautions to avoid difficult situations aren’t on the safe side.
The worst kind of injuries that can occur in the workplace
As mentioned earlier, no employer enjoys absolute immunity. You’re only protected in the case of simple or ordinary negligence. If an employee alleges that your conduct has been intentional, fraudulent, willful, and so on, you risk being sanctioned. To be more precise, you become an obvious target to bring a claim against because you’re responsible for the harm that has been caused. Enhancing the business environment can help keep employees safe and avoid the worst kind of injuries that can take place in the workplace. Speaking of which, here is a short review of the most serious work-related injuries that can put you out of business.
Trips, slips, and falls
They account for numerous personal injuries in the workplace, causing severe injuries, especially to the ankle, knee, and back. More than 50% of falls occur due to slips and trips. Common causes of trips, slips, and falls include but aren’t limited to uneven floor surfaces, ill-suited floor coverings, trailing cables, wet/slippery floors, poor lighting, and inadequate housekeeping. If, as an employer, you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you’ll face a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit can take one to two years to settle, which can have a devastating impact on the business. It’s recommended to carry out a risk assessment and determine what steps need to be taken to protect your employees.
Being struck or caught in moving machinery
Struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment, whether trucks or cranes. Machinery that isn’t properly supervised represents a safety hazard. Body parts can get caught or struck by exposed moving parts from machines and the outcome can turn out to be devastating. Hundreds of thousands of incidents occur every year involving days away from work. Employers should be proactive in providing education on job-specific hazards and engage in corrective action so that the odds of something bad happening are dramatically reduced.
Fire and explosions
Fires and explosions can cost your company billions, besides the loss of life, which can’t be quantified. Incidents of this kind can happen for many reasons, such as combustible dust, hot work, flammable liquids and gases, and electrical hazards. Educational material should be kept at hand and people should be wearing personal protective equipment at all times. Whoever is liable for the accident will have to foot the bill. The workers’ compensation insurance policy doesn’t completely limit the employee’s ability to sue. It’s essential to understand that those who manage to survive fires or explosions require extensive medical care and prolonged rehabilitative treatment for injuries like cuts and lacerations, loss of limbs, eye damage, fractures, etc.
Lawsuits and litigation can destroy brand image
Any organization that doesn’t comply with health and safety regulations risks not only hefty fines, but also it needs to pay medical compensation, death benefits, and cover for legal services. These represent the direct costs. What about the indirect costs of workplace accidents? Just so you know, they can be 20 times higher. You’ll lose one of your most important assets – your employee, that is – and sustain reputational damage. Even the smallest incident can affect brand image, so the way you represent your company matters. It matters a lot, in fact. If you were to lose the trust and confidence of your customers, your bottom line would be negatively affected. More exactly, it would affect the success of your business.
Individuals place a great deal of emphasis on business lawsuits, not regarding the companies involved in legal matters in a favorable light. Some type of wrongdoing has taken place and it’s the business’ fault. The point is that, even if you come out victorious from the lawsuit, you’ll be negatively perceived by customers and, consequently, lose income. Conflict is new, after all. The best way to protect your company’s reputation is to prevent workplace accidents from ever happening. Even if there is no truth to an employee’s claims or the allegations are blatantly exaggerated, your brand’s image will be shattered. And there’s no going back. Some customers won’t return, even if you have a well-defined strategy.
To sum up, workplace accidents have a profound impact on business. The viability of your company depends on its smooth functioning. There’s no way to eliminate work-related incidents entirely, but their number can be drastically reduced. It takes planning and careful consideration. Prepare ahead of time for grave incidents. That’s all you can do. Create the foundation for a safe working environment and take the necessary steps to prevent accidents. Keep in mind that employees are your most important assets. Keep them safe, even if that means going the extra mile.