Both employees and employers should consult the law when it comes to an accident at work. Thus, the employee must know what their rights are, and the employer must know how to proceed and what the obligations or responsibilities are.
In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about accidents at work, the safety rules that must be respected, but also the rights of those involved.
How work accidents are defined and classified
To understand more easily what type of accidents can be considered work accidents, the law offers a definition of the specific terms:
- Work-related injury – involves serious injury to the body or acute intoxication that occurred during the work process or in the performance of service duties. Only accidents that have caused temporary incapacity for work for at least three days, invalidity or death are included in the category of work accidents.
- Occupational disease– refers to an illness that occurred during the exercise of a profession, which is caused by harmful physical, chemical or biological agents, specific to the workplace. Also, in this category is included the overloading of different parts of the body during the work process.
- Dangerous situation – may be an event such as an explosion, fire, damage, technical accidents or major emissions of pollution caused by the malfunctioning of work equipment and/or by the inappropriate behavior of the human factor, which affected the workers and caused material damage.
- Mild accident– accidents that result in superficial injuries that require only the first medical care and which have incapacitated work for less than three days.
At the same time, work-related accidents are classified according to the consequences or the number of persons involved, as follows:
- accidents that cause temporary work incapacity for at least three working days
- accidents that cause invalidity
- fatal accident
- collective accidents, when at least three persons are injured at the same time and for the same reason
What other events can be considered work accidents
Besides the situations presented above, there are other situations that, according to the legal provisions, can be classified in the category of accidents at work. The team at Naqvi Injury Law compiled a quick list with the most common situations:
- the accident suffered by a person visiting the company and/or the unit, with the permission of the employer;
- the accident suffered by a person who performs tasks of public interest, including sports or cultural activities, in the country or abroad;
- the accident that took place within the organized cultural and sports activities, during and due to the accomplishment of these activities;
- the accident suffered by any person due to any action taken on their own initiative to prevent or eliminate a danger that threatens the public and private good;
- road accidents, if the trip took place during and on the normal route from the employee’s home to the workplace (and vice versa), organized by the employer;
- the accident suffered during the movement from the headquarters of the legal person or from the address of the natural person to the workplace, or from one workplace to another, for carrying out a work task;
- accidents that occurred during the regular breaks, if these happened in places organized by the employer, as well as during and on the normal route to and from these places;
- the accident suffered by workers, delegates for the fulfillment of the service duties outside the borders of the country, during the duration and the route provided in the travel document;
- the accident suffered while performing works and services on the territory of other countries, based on contracts, conventions or other conditions provided by law, during and due to the fulfillment of the service duties;
- accidents suffered by persons who take courses of qualification, retraining or improvement, during and because of carrying out the activities related to the internship;
- accidents that have been caused by natural calamities such as storm, mistletoe, earthquake, flood, landslides, lightning (electrocution), if the victim is in the process of work or in performing the duties of service;
- the disappearance of a person, in the conditions of an accident at work and in circumstances that justify the assumption of death;
- the accident suffered by a person as a result of aggression.
It is important to keep in mind that, in the case of road accidents, there should be no unjustified deviations from the normal route while traveling. The employer must keep track of the route and also the total period required for traveling.
What obligations does the employer have to prevent accidents at work
According to the law, the employer has the obligation to prevent possible accidents at work and to ensure the necessary working conditions in safety. The necessary measures that any employer must take are the following:
- To draw up a prevention and protection plan– it must include technical, sanitary, organizational and other measures. This plan must be prepared by risk assessment and applied according to the conditions and the workplace.
- Obtain a functioning authorization for work protection– this must be obtained before starting any activity.
- Inform the employees– before employment, each person should be informed about the risks they are exposed to in the workplace, but also about the necessary prevention and protection measures.
- To properly select the employees– only those persons who, after the medical and psychological examination, correspond to the work tasks that they will perform must be hired. At the same time, the employer must provide regular medical check-ups for the persons who are already employed.
- Provide adequate work equipment– must provide work equipment that does not endanger the safety and health of employees.
In the event of a work accident, the employer has the obligation to declare the incident of the territorial labor inspectorate, the insurer or, as the case may be, the criminal prosecution bodies.
What obligations does the employee have to prevent the occurrence of an accident at work
In turn, the employees have the obligation to prevent the occurrence of any work accident, according to the legal provisions. Employees have:
- a) to properly use machines, equipment, tools, dangerous substances, transport equipment and other means of production;
- b)to properly use the individual protective equipment granted and, after use, to return it or to place it in the place intended for storage;
- c) not to proceed with the dismissal, the modification, change or arbitrary removal of the own security devices, especially of the machines, the tools, the technical installations and to use these devices correctly;
- d) immediately communicate to the employer and/or the designated workers any employment situation for which they have good reasons to consider it a danger to the safety and health of the workers, as well as any deficiency of the protection systems;
- e) to inform the manager of the workplace and/or the employer of the accidents suffered by his own person;
- f) to cooperate with the employer and/or the designated workers, as long as necessary, in order to make possible any measures or requirements arranged by the labor inspectors and the sanitary inspectors, for the protection of the health and safety of the workers;
- g) to cooperate, as long as necessary, with the employer and/or the designated workers, in order to enable the employer to ensure that the working environment and working conditions are safe and without safety and health risks.
- h) to acquire and respect the provisions of the legislation in the field of occupational safety and health and ensure their application;
What the employer has to do in case of an accident at work
Depending on the type of incident that occurred, the employer must communicate the events immediately, as follows:
- At the territorial labor inspectorates
- To the insurer – the events followed by temporary incapacity for work, invalidity or death, upon their confirmation;
- Criminal prosecution bodies, as the case may be.
What are the rights of the employee and the family in case of an accident at work
If an accident at work has occurred, the employee has a series of rights that allow them to recover or obtain compensation.
The employee’s rights in the event of an accident at work are the following:
- Medical rehabilitation– the employee can benefit from free services until the restoration or improvement of his/her state of health. Free medical services may include emergency medical care, hospital medical services, outpatient medical treatment, special investigations, recovery treatments, balneoclimatic treatments or individual treatment programs and recovery programs.
- Compensation for an accident at work– this can be obtained on the basis of a medical certificate.
- Compensation for achieving integrity– if employees are left with injuries that reduce their work capacity by 20-50%, they have the right to request compensation, based on the doctor’s decision. The value of the compensations is established according to the severity of the injuries.
- Expenses reimbursements– as the case may be, expenses incurred by emergency transport, medical devices implanted as a result of surgery, glasses, hearing aids or prostheses that have been damaged as a result of accidents at work.
- Compensation in case of death– an application for compensation must be filed, accompanied by the documents from which the applicant’s right results
The rights to be insured are granted on the basis of a report of a work accident investigation or in the form of the final declaration of the occupational disease.