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Accidents in the workplace - How to avoid injuries at workplace

Injuries at workplace

When is something an occupational injury? How are you responsible as an employer if an employee suffers an occupational injury? You can read more about that in this article.

When is it an occupational injury?

Der er tale om en arbejdsskade, hvis ulykken sker på grund af ens arbejde eller på grund af de forhold, arbejdet er udført under.

When is it an occupational injury?

It is an occupational injury if the accident occurs because of one's work or because of the conditions under which the work was carried out.

Typically, the general term 'work injury' is divided into two forms:

  1. Accidents in the workplace
  2. Occupational disease

1. Accidents in the workplace

In order for it to be described as injuries at workplace it requires that:

  • There is physical and/or psychological personal injury
  • There is a connection between the personal injury and the incident. In the Work Injury Insurance Act, this is called the 'annual context'
  • The damage occurs suddenly or within 5 days the incident

Examples of an occupational accident:

  • Physical injury due to an accident, e.g. a finger in a machine
  • Lifting injuries
  • An employer has failed to salt at the entrance to work, resulting in an employee falling
  • A student who tackles a PE teacher in football, then the teacher's Achilles tendon in his foot ruptures

2. Occupational disease

  • For an occupational disease, the following applies:
  • that the illness must have arisen due to influences at work
  • that it must be possible to prove that the illness is due to one's work and not one's private life
  • that the connection between the disease and the effects must be known in medical research

Examples of occupational diseases:

  • Tennis elbow, e.g. due to a work movement that is repeated many times
  • Hearing loss, e.g. due to working in very noisy environments
  • Asthma, e.g. due to working with dangerous substances
  • Stress. Stress in itself is not an occupational injury, but consequences of work related stress loads can result in illness and therefore may well be an occupational injury
  • Anxiety attacks, for example because an employee has been exposed to threats and violence from colleagues for a long time
  • Serious bullying and harassment committed by colleagues/managers, resulting in an employee developing depression, for example

However, it is not necessarily an occupational injury, even if the accident/injury takes place at work. For example, a person gets up from a chair and gets a prolapsed disc.  This is not an occupational injury as it is an accidental injury and because there is most likely no cause.

However, it is important to emphasise that each case is personal and individual. It is the Danish: 'Arbejdsmarkedets Erhvervssikring' (also called: 'AES') that determines and assesses whether the damage in question is covered by the law.

AES has a list of occupational diseases on their website; which is a list of the occupational diseases that are recognised as occupational injuries. The list is continuously updated so that it covers the latest research.

Notification of work injury

There is a difference between what the employer and the employee must do.

What do you do as an employer?

As an employer, you must report the occupational accident as soon as possible, within 9 days. You must report the accident to your insurance company. Your insurance company will assess whether the accident is a work related injury and whether the injury may have long term consequences for the injured party, i.e. permanent damage, or whether it entitles the claimant to cover the costs of treatment. Employees are not entitled to compensation if the damage will not cause lasting harm.

What should the employee do?

If the employee has been exposed to an occupational injury and does not agree with the decision made by the employer's insurance company, the case is transferred to Arbejdsmarkedets Erhvervssikring, if the employee requests it. The employee will then receive a decision stating whether the injury is recognised or rejected as an occupational injury.

If the employer's insurance company considers that the employee is entitled to compensation, in addition to the costs of treatment, the case will also be dealt with by AES.

If the employer has not reported the occupational accident, the employee, from the time the injury occurred, has a period of one year to report the occupational injury. The injury is only reported when the employee has received a receipt for the notification of the occupational injury, from this the employee also knows whether the employer has reported the injury. It is important that the employee also remembers to tell the employer about the accident and its consequences.

What does the AES Occupational Insurance do?

When AES receives a notification about an occupational accident, there are some things they must have before they can assess whether it is an occupational accident:

  • A confirmation from the employer that the incident/impact has occurred, as well as any more information
  • Information about the employer's insurance company
  • A medical certificate describing the injury
  • Possibly ask the injured party and the employer for more information regarding the incident/effects

65 percent of the damages that are reported to AES are completed within approximately 6 months.

Work injury compensation

If the injury (accident at work or occupational disease) is approved as an occupational injury, it will then be decided whether:

  • The employee must be compensated
  • What type of compensation the employee is entitled to
  • How much the compensation should be

Types of compensation or compensation the employee may be entitled to:

  • Compensation for permanent disability if the disability is at least 5 percent
  • Compensation for loss of working capacity, if the injury has made it difficult for the employee to earn money at work (must be reduced by at least 15 percent)
  • Payment for: Treatment, medicine, aids, training, expenses during the processing of the case such as transport or lost wages for any medical examination or further examinations

The employee is either paid the compensation as a lump sum or an ongoing benefit. Compensation as a lump sum is not taxable, whereas compensation as an ongoing benefit is taxable.

It is either your employer's insurance company or AES that pays the compensation.

accidents in the workplace

The Danish Working Environment Authority

Arbejdstilsynet is the Danish Working Environment Authority in the area of ​​the working environment.

It is the Working Environment Act that forms the basis for what the Danish Working Environment Authority focuses on, including working conditions at workplaces. This covers, among other things, safety and health matters.

Every industry has its challenges, if it is physical work, then there will be a focus on what is lifted and moved, lifting techniques, etc.

In an office, it can be ventilation, access to sunlight, emergency exits, etc. which is in focus.

But regardless of the industry, there is also a focus on the psychological working environment, including discrimination and bullying. If there are challenges in relation to the psychological working environment, the Danish Working Environment Authority can make a return visit to see if there has been a positive development.

What happens after an inspection visit?

If your company does not comply with the Working Environment Act, your company can get the following feedback by the Danish Working Environment Authority:

  • An order with a deadline
  • A mandate of competence
  • A prohibition
  • An administrative fine
  • A police report

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