Causes of office accidents
In comparison with most other workplaces, offices can seem hazard-free. Although offices are (generally) safer than most workplaces, your employer must still monitor health and safety risks.
Unfortunately, it is the lack of obvious risks that may prompt some employers and office managers to take a less vigilant approach to health and safety.
Offices workers can sustain an injury in a wide range of circumstances:
- Slips, trips and falls over loose cables, open drawers and boxes are common.
- Lifting and other manual handling injuries can result from office workers being asked to move or carry box files, desks or other office furniture without training or proper supervision.
- Spillages in office kitchens and bathrooms are also a common cause of slip injuries.
Office workers are also prone to occupational illnesses like carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders.
What to do if you have been injured in an office
Seek medical attention
Even if you feel your injury is minor, you should get medical attention as soon as possible after your accident. Seeking professional medical advice will make sure that your injuries are fully recorded. Any problems can be addressed at the earliest point.
Medical evidence will be very important if you intend to make a compensation claim.
To make a successful office accident claim, it will be necessary to show that your employer did something, or failed to do something, that led to the accident.
Your solicitor will need to prove that your employer was negligent in some way.
Start a file and write a detailed account of everything you can remember.
In addition to a medical report, try and collect as many of the following as possible:
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- The names and contact details of any witnesses
- CCTV footage (if it exists)
- The condition of any stepladders, office shelving or other office equipment involved in the accident
Reporting an office accident
Once you have received medical attention and the site of the accident has been made safe, you should report the incident to your manager or supervisor. If you cannot, ask someone else at your workplace to do so. If you are a contractor you should inform the person you report to.
Can I claim for an office accident?
As a basic rule, If you were injured in the last 3 years and someone else was to blame, you may be able to claim financial compensation for your injuries.
You can also claim compensation if your work or working conditions have caused you to develop a health condition or become sick, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or RSI.
How should workers with existing health conditions be protected?
Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for office staff with existing injuries and health conditions. If you already suffer from back pain, wrist pain or eye strain-related vision problems, your employer should provide appropriate equipment to reduce the risk of further injury.
Adjustments could include:
- Regular breaks
- Screen glare filters
- Desk height adjusters
- Monitor height and position adjusters
- Kneeling chairs
It may be more difficult to claim if your injury was caused by your own actions, doing something against company policy, but you should still speak to a solicitor in such cases to discuss your options.
Financial help if I can't work
After an accident at work, you may be able to claim for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) and other benefits, depending on your circumstances.
You may also be able to make a work accident compensation claim. A compensation award will include loss of wages as well as any future anticipated loss of earnings.
If you are unable to meet your living costs after the accident, it may also be possible to get an interim payment in advance of the final claim settlement.
Find out more: What financial support is available after a work injury?
What impact will my job status have on my claim?
Contractors, office temp workers and employees on zero-hours contracts are all still entitled to claim office accident compensation. How compensation is calculated, and whom the claim is made against, however, may vary.
Find out more:
How much compensation can I claim for an office accident?
The amount of compensation you might receive will depend on:
- the type and severity of your injury
- how your injuries affect your life after the accident
- how the injury will affect your life in the future
- the amount of financial costs and losses you incur as a result of your injury
Our injury compensation calculator can estimate both the value of your claim and whether you are eligible to make a claim.
Making a No Win, No Fee office accident claim
A No Win, No Fee claim is made with the help of a solicitor.
When you start a No Win, No Fee claim, your solicitor will explain how the claims process works, and what they will be paid if they win your claim.
If your No Win, No Fee claim is not successful, you will have no legal fees to pay. Under a No Win, No Fee agreement, a solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of a claimant's compensation.
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice
- Explain how No Win, No Fee works
- Recommend the right solicitor