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The Business Issue, Case Study Example

Pages: 1

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Case Study

There was a recent accident at work with one of our employees.  At the time the accident did not seem too serious and as such was not reported.  Subsequently the employee has had to take five days off work in order to visit his Doctor and subsequent hospital treatment to deal with the injury sustained. Upon return to work the company had still not reported the incident.  The business feels that trivial incidents of this nature are not worth the administrative cost of reporting same and as such was shocked to find out that it was acting in an illegal capacity.

Position

The position of the Employer not reporting the accident is clearly incorrect. There is a legal responsibility to report any accidents at work where the employee is required to have hospital treatment. This legal requirement is outlined in The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). The body that the employer must report these accidents at work to is called the Incident Contact Centre of the Health and Safety Executive.  As such the employer has a legal obligation to comply with the Health and Safety at work Act and report this incident.

Rationale for Position

Health and Safety at work is the responsibility of all employers in order to ensure that the employees have a safe working environment that is governed by Health and Safety requirement for work.  There is a legal responsibility to report any accidents that occur, particularly where someone is hospitalized or where a fatality occurs.  The relevant authorities must be informed as soon as possible. This ensures that the right people are informed immediately and subsequently records all of the facts for any subsequent investigations to follow i.e. police, insurance, legal. The Company also has a duty to retain records of these incidents in either computer or hand written form. These may form a vital part of evidence in any legal issues that may follow.

Opposing View

The opposing view from the employer was that this was considered unnecessary at the time. The employee was safely taken home and to his Doctor for immediate attention.  Conducting an investigation, documenting this and reporting same was considered an unnecessary expense.  The firm would have complied if the situation was deemed to be more serious. The company felt it had the right to make this judgement call and interpret the legal requirements as it saw fit.

Summary

The Company, by adoption of this policy, is exposing itself to a whole raft of legal issues.  In the first instance the employee was a Union member. If the Union investigation found an unsafe practice that caused the injury a legal claim against the Company may follow.  If the Company was in breach of legal Health and Safety requirement it would add weight to the case of the Plaintiff.  The employee may take out a private action against the Company.  The legal / regulative authorities may take out subsequent actions against the Company for non compliance with legal requirements.  The concept of saving administrative costs is trivial against the potential legal damages that could be lodged against the Company.

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