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ACCIDENTS AT WORK AND OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

Even if you use the best endeavours to ensure your employees the safest working conditions, accidents at work may happen.  You need to know which situations -  in the light of the legislation - are considered as an accident at work and what obligations you have in case they occur.

In the event of an accident, as an employer, you must take the necessary measures to eliminate or reduce the hazard and to provide first aid to the injured.  Your responsibility is also to determine the circumstances and causes of the accident and apply appropriate measures to prevent similar accidents.

When are we dealing with an accident at work?

A workplace accident is considered to be a sudden event, in the light of provisions,  triggered by an external cause which results in injury or death and which occurred in connection with the performed work:

  •  during or in connection with performance by an employee of regular work activities or instructions from supervisors;
  •  during or in connection with performance by an employee of work activities for the benefit of the employer, even without an instruction;
  •  when the employee remains at the employer's disposal on the way between the employer's seat and the place of performing the duty which results from an employment relationship.

An accident is treated equally with a workplace accident if it occurred to a worker:

  • during a business trip in circumstances other than the ones listed above, unless the accident was caused by the employee's behaviour which does not bear any relation to the execution of tasks entrusted to him;
  • during training on common self-defence;
  • during execution of tasks entrusted to an employee by trade union organizations operating at the employer's.

The types of workplace accidents

  • Fatal – an accident as a result of which death ensued within the period of up to 6 months from the day of the accident,
  • Serious – an accident as a result of which heavy bodily injury occurred, such as: loss of eyesight, hearing, speech, reproductive capacities, or any other bodily injury as well as health disorder impeding basic functions of the organism, as well as incurable illness or a life threatening illness, permanent mental illness, complete or partial incapacity for work in the profession or a permanent, substantial mutilation or disfigurement of the body,
  • Minor – any other accident,
  • Collective – an accident which occurred to at least two people as a result of the same event.

Employer's obligations

  • The employer shall immediately notify the relevant district labour inspector and prosecutor of a fatal, serious or collective accident at work ork of any other accident that caused similar effects in connection with work, if it may be considered a workplace accident.
  • As the employer you are obliged to keep a register of accidents at work. Reports on establishing the circumstances and causes of a work-related accident and any other related documents must be kept for a 10-year period.
  • The costs associated with the establishment of circumstances and causes of accidents at work shall be borne by the employer.

Additional information

 Definition of an accident at work was specified in the Act of 30 October 2002 on social insurance in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases.  It sets out, inter alia, the types of benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases and the conditions for entitlement to benefits.

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