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Accidents in the Workplace: Who is Accountable? Employee

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Work accidents that cause bodily harm are unfortunately quite common because they can happen at any time. Employee may be the victim of an accident while at work, or away from it but still in charge of a mission, framed by the employment contract. However, when an awful incident occurs in a workplace, who is accountable? Is it the employer, or employee?

This article will reveal to you everything you should know about accidents in the workplace, and who should be held responsible.

Table of Contents

1) Meaning of work accident
2) Types of occupational accidents
3) Who is responsible?
4) Who compensates the employee who is the victim of a work accident?
5) Employer’s Safety Obligation
6) The measures to implement by the employer
7) What penalties do the employer risk?

1) The definition of work accident

According to current legislation, an occupational accident is any bodily injury that a worker may suffer as a result of work performed as an employee.
The recklessness of the worker when carrying out his work may not be considered a work accident.

In this sense, doubts may arise about what is considered an injury, bodily harm is understood to be any injury, wound, blow, illness, or psychological consequences derived from work activity.
Therefore, a work accident to be considered as such must meet the following characteristics:
i) It must happen along the journey to or from the job.
ii) Those derived as a result of the performance of union positions.
iv) Those that happened in rescue acts within the workplace.
v) Those that occur as a result of the employer’s orders or spontaneously for the proper functioning of the company.
vi) Diseases transmitted to the worker as a result of the execution of his work.
vii) Illnesses already suffered by the worker, but which have been aggravated by the performance of their work or by occupational accident.

Once recognized as such, the work accident gives the right to compensation, whether temporary (temporary work stoppage and daily compensation) or permanent (annuities and additional compensation).
These allowances are paid both by social security (CPAM) and the employer. The amount of compensation and the payment conditions differ from those provided for sick leave.

2) Types of occupational accidents

Work accidents can occur for various reasons. Either due to the worker’s recklessness or due to fortuitous events beyond the control of both the worker and the company and due to unsafe conditions. In this sense, the most common workplace accidents are:
a) Falls from height.
b) Falling objects.
c) Falls at different levels, such as stairs, chairs, slopes, etc.
d) By exposure or contact to extreme temperatures.
e) By exposure or contact to electricity.
f) By exposure or contact to chemicals and toxic gases.
g) By exposure to radiation.
h) By abrupt postures or movements.
i) Due to excessive efforts or bad handling of heavy loads.
j) Shocks or bumps.
k) Entrapment of clothing or body parts with machinery.
l) Biological accidents due to contact with bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
m) Food poisoning as long as the food in question has been supplied by the company.

3) Who is responsible?

When the employer breaches his duty of safety obligation relating to the labor code and has not taken adequate measures to warn his employee of any danger; there is an inexcusable fault.

And a civil penalty incurs as a result of the fault of the employer.

4) Who compensates the employee who has fallen victim to a work accident?

The employer may require to compensate the employee in the form of damages when he has failed in his duty of obligation to guarantee his employee.
An employer who was or should have been aware of the danger and who has not taken the necessary measures to preserve the employee’s health is committing inexcusable misconduct. Its responsibility remains engaged even if the victim himself committed a fault.
The employee can claim damages when he has been the victim of an accident at work.

5) Employer’s Safety Obligation

The employer by law is to observe all crucial regulations to guarantee the physical well-being, mental well-being, and safety of his workers. The employer must not only reduce the risk but prevent it. Otherwise, he incurs heavy penalties, even if the damage has not occurred.

6) The measures to implement by the employer

i) Carry out safety actions to prevent occupational risks.
ii) Provide information and training programs to the employees. Registration of employees for training on safety at work.
iii) Provide safety signs in dangerous places, around the company.
iv) Provide a good and safe working environment. Installation of suitable machines. Removal of dangerous products, etc.
v) The employer is meat to take into account the capacities of the employees before entrusting them with tasks.
v) The employer must not take measures that would have the effect of compromising the health and safety of employees.
vi) Ensure the employees go for medical examinations periodically. Provide medical surveillance for employees.
vii) Fit-out outdoor workstations to protect them against falling objects.
viii) Equip the premises with first aid tools.
ix) Provide employees with personal protective equipment.

7) What penalties do the employe risk?

In the event of an accident related to working conditions,

the employer may be ordered by the industrial court to compensate the employee for inexcusable misconduct.
This inexcusable fault can result in misconduct on the part of the employer which is the direct cause of the work accident. The employer’s fault must have played a decisive role in the occurrence of the work accident.
This compensation consists of payment for damage not covered by Social Security, compensation for physical and mental damage suffered by the victim. As well as an increase in pension or salary of the employee.
In addition, an employee who is the victim of an accident can apply to the criminal court for failure by the employer to comply with his safety obligation, which constitutes an offense that may lead to a fine.

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