The number of people injured at work each year continues to cause concern. In the US, the National Safety Council reports that someone gets injured every seven seconds, while the UK’s Health & Safety Executive noted that 693,000 workers suffered an injury in the 2019/20 period. What should you do if you find yourself in this situation?

Get Appropriate Medical Attention

Not every accident at work appears serious at first, and you may be tempted to try and just shrug it off. However, there is the danger that the damage worsens if you do this. You will also find it more difficult to establish your employer’s liability if you don’t seek medical attention right away.

Stop working as soon as it is safe to do so, especially if it is something that could aggravate the injury, and advise your line manager about what has happened. If the company you work for has medical facilities then go there to get checked out first of all.

Be sure to fill in forms or reports that are needed to record this as an official accident. There may be certain types of incidents that are commonplace in your industry or some tasks you need to avoid following the incident, so the medical staff should have useful experience in the subject.

Let Your Body Recover

You will probably need to take a period of rest and recovery after the accident. This stage can be the most difficult for some workers, as it involves taking it easy and letting your body recover. The amount of time needed can vary widely.

For example, a moderate ankle sprain can take just three or four weeks, while a more serious sprain can take up to six months. A broken arm could take between six and eight weeks for you to get over if it is a clean break, but any complications will add to that timescale.

Naturally, your age and physical condition will impact on the time needed for a full recovery. Delayed inflammatory response and reduced skin elasticity are among the reasons why more mature people tend to heal a lot more slowly than their younger counterparts.

As with any type of injury, carrying out the right exercises will help you to recover more swiftly, while the wrong ones could hinder your progress. A good warm-up and cool-down routine is important once you start exercising again, and be careful not to go too fast. It is best to start with something like gentle resistance exercises once you feel ready.

You should seek expert advice on when to start doing exercising and what kind of exercises to do. It is often best to start with physiotherapy sessions, to lower the pain levels and start to recover your full range of movement.

Don’t forget that a large part of the recovery process is mental too. If you feel positive and willing to get better it should take you less time to get ready to return to work.

Take Notes and Work Out the Financial Impact

It is important to keep detailed notes of the incident, even if you have also completed your employer’s process for notifying them of an accident. Note things like the time and exact place, as well as the details of any witnesses.

This will help you to back up your version of events at a later stage such as if you need to get advice on personal injury claims. In this case, you would be the plaintiff and your employer would be the defendant, with a solicitor or attorney helping you to file the claim and the relevant Personal Injury Assessment Board assessing the case.

You should also keep a record of the financial impact this incident has had on you. How many hours of work have you lost and what medical expenses have you been forced to pay? You might be surprised at how much it works out to be. The last thing you want is for financial concerns to make your recovery even more difficult.

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Consider Whether to Return to the Same Role

Some people find that the recovery period is difficult, as they may be stuck at home and need help to carry out their normal tasks. However, it is important not to rush back, as this could make things worse instead of better.

In fact, you could look at this as the perfect opportunity to consider your future. Are you happy going back to the place where the accident occurred, or would you prefer to try something different? A major incident like this can change your outlook, so it is worth taking all the time you need to get it right.

Don’t make any of the common mistakes following an accident at work. You will feel a lot happier about the future if you follow these steps and get back to good health in the most sensible way possible.


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By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.