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When an employee is absent due to an accident

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A lot of employers don’t know what to do when an employee is absent due to an accident

Here are some brief points about what you can do, and

Look after the person

  • Show you care – People sometimes worry about visiting the injured person. Regardless of what has happened, it’s a team member who is not feeling well – send them a card, or a get well present.
  • Keep talking to them.  It’s important for a person when they’re recovering to have moral support.  It doesn’t mean that you are accepting blame by doing this; it means you care.  They’ve even cancelled Jeremy Kyle show now, so what are you meant to do with yourself if you’re stuck at home with an injury.
  • Don’t leave them out of social occasions– Just because they are not physically capable of carrying out their work activity does not mean they cannot meet everyone for a team social gathering.
  • Offer them mental well-being support- Make sure the person is supported emotionally, they may suffer from a range of negative emotions, including stress and depression.  Either arrange support via Occupational Health or provide employees with private health care that includes a mental welfare service.

Stop it happening again

  • Dig Deep– Carry out an investigation to prevent it from happening again. Look at what happened, why it happened and what were the core reasons. Check out our blog on accident investigation here
  • Report it – If an employee is absent due to an accident for more than 7 days you need to report the accident to the HSE via RIDDOR, there are also other reasons that the absence might be reportable RIDDOR stands for ‘Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations’. It’s a statutory instrument which came into power in 2013 and requires every ‘responsible person’ (most often an employer) to report deaths, near misses, injuries, diseases and accidents.
  • Risk Assessment – Carry out a risk assessment and look at ways to prevent it from happening again and/ or being worse next time.
  • Record the accident investigation – Make sure you record the investigation and what you did to prevent it from happening again. Remember, Accident investigation contains personal information and is subject to GDPR.

Help them back to work

  • Return to Work– Once the employee decides to return to work or receive a fit to work certificate, you may need to look at different options for them to return to work.  It may be a phased return, it could be a change of duties and a whole host of different actions you need to take.  This is definitely one for the human resource team, and we strongly advise you speak to HR and Health and Safety to ensure the person is treated in the correct and legal way.

If you’re worried about an employee who has had an accident at work, we know a lot of ways of helping an employee through their period of recovery and getting them back to work.

If you’d like to have a chat, please get in touch here

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