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One in four serious injuries occur in the workplace

08 July 2020

NEW RESEARCH into injury incidents in the UK reveals that a shocking proportion of the population has suffered a severe injury at work within the last five years.

The research into 1,000 adults across the UK, conducted by Fletchers Serious Injury, revealed that 27.6% of those who have suffered a serious injury within this timeframe, such as spinal injuries, burns, and damage from slips, trips and falls, sustained the injury via an accident in the workplace. 

The findings also revealed a concerning unwillingness amongst those who had suffered an injury to pursue a claim in order to receive the compensation and support they need to get their life back on track, with almost a fifth (19.1%) saying that they would not pursue a claim if they suffered a serious injury. 

When asked the reasons behind this reluctance, one in eight respondents (12%) admitted to being worried about incurring a backlash from their employer and having their career prospects damaged by claiming for a workplace accident.

When quizzed about their other motivations for not pursuing justice following an accident at work, 41% admitted that they would not know how to pursue legal action. This points to a potential shortfall in employers making their employees aware of their legal rights and ensuring they have the correct legal documentation (such as detailed employee handbooks and health and safety manuals) in place. 

Men were also revealed to be more at risk than women, with a third of men (33.1%) having suffered a serious injury at work, compared with 18% of women. Young men, here defined as those aged up to 35, were even more severely affected, with almost six in 10 having experienced some form of serious injury (59.2%). 

Age was also a contributing factor, with younger workers noticeably more likely to suffer an accident at work than their older counterparts. On average, 36.6% of those aged 18-44 had suffered an accident at work, compared with 13.3% of those aged 45 and above, making younger workers almost three times as susceptible in this area. 

Adrian Denson, chief legal officer at Fletchers Serious Injury, commented: “When a person suffers a serious injury at work, coping with the direct physical and psychological consequences is extremely difficult indeed. And as they focus on each small step along the long road to recovery, it can be easy for the person to put their legal rights to one side. The very thought of bringing a legal claim can be daunting with many people not really knowing where they would start. 

“Even more concerning is the substantial number of people that may be suffering in silence out of fear that seeking the help they need will affect their career further down the line, as well as their employer’s bottom line. This is a false, and damaging misconception – particularly when a serious injury can lead to a person being unable to return to work for a long time and often, when they do return, can still limit their ability to carry out their work without pain or worry.

“Virtually all employers are required to carry liability insurance, meaning that any legal action would be against the insurer rather than the employer directly. And there are important legal rights that protect a person who does pursue their right to claim for an injury at work, meaning that any decent employer should be very unlikely to hold it against their employee.”

Further statistics and information from the research can be found in the report here.