An occupational accident is damage to the health of an employee or death of an employee which occurred in the performance of a duty assigned by an employer or in other work performed with the employer’s permission, during a break included in the working time, or during other activity in the interests of the employer.
Occupational accidents include traffic accidents, attacks against persons protecting the public order and other similar situations, if they have occurred in the course of work.
Damage to the health or death that is not in a causal relation to the work of the employee or the working environment is not deemed occupational accident. For example, falling on a slippery road while going to or from work is not considered an occupational accident.
Occupational accidents are divided into minor, serious or fatal occupational accidents according to seriousness of injury. Serious occupational accidents include an open fracture, extensive wounds and the amputation of fingers, toes and limbs.
An employer has to investigate all occupational accidents and, if necessary, involve a specialist in the investigation. A working environment representative or, in their absence, an employees’ trustee has to participate in the investigation as well.
A report prepared at the end of an investigation has to be submitted to the victim and the Labour Inspectorate within three days after the investigation is terminated.
What to do in the case of an occupational accident
If an employee has been injured as a result of an occupational accident, proceed as follows:
- Prevent potential injuries to yourself and other employees;
- Call for an employee responsible for providing first aid;
- If necessary, call for an ambulance;
- If necessary, assess the condition of the victim. For that, you need to first ascertain whether resuscitation is necessary, that is, ascertain whether the victim is breathing and their heart is beating.
In case of more serious damage to health, promptly call the emergency number 112 and the dispatcher will provide you with instructions on how to be of help to the victim until the ambulance arrives.
Upon calling the emergency number, be sure to state:
- where the accident happened;
- what exactly happened;
- with whom the accident happened;
- what condition is the victim in;
- who is calling.
Do not hang up the phone before you have been given permission to do so by the emergency dispatcher.
An employee has to promptly notify the employer or the employer’s representative and a working environment representative of an occupational accident and the resulting declaration of temporary incapacity for work.
If an employee seeks help from a health care institution, he or she needs to remember to state that the accident happened at work.
Compensation for damages and expenses
An employee who has suffered damage to their health while performing their duties has the right to demand compensation for damage caused through health damage from an employer. An employer is required to compensate for reasonable medical expenses relating to the health damage and damages caused by the damaged person’s temporary incapacity for work and damages caused by reduction in income and, in case of death of an employee, also their reasonable funeral expenses.
If an employee who died as a result of an occupational disease had an obligation at the time of their death arising from legislation to provide for another person, an employer must pay financial benefit to that person corresponding to the amount which would have been given by the deceased during their estimated life expectancy to that person.
A victim also has the right to demand compensation for additional expenses, such as dentures, medical aids and prescription drugs, arising from damage to health. If an employer does not accept the claim issued by an employee or persons related to them, the parties may go to court to resolve the dispute.
Payment of sickness benefit
If a victim fails to notify of an occupational accident within a prescribed period, they will not receive the benefits prescribed by legislation.
In case of an illness or injury arising from an occupational accident, the sickness benefit is paid at the rate of 100% from the second day of release from work by the Health Insurance Fund.
JIn case an accident that occurred at work is not considered an occupational accident, it might be regarded as an ordinary trauma instead. An employee does not receive benefit for health damage arising from that for the first three days. From the fourth to eighth day, the benefit is paid by an employer; from the ninth day and onwards the Health Insurance Fund pays it. The benefit is paid at the rate of 70% of the daily income – the employer calculates the amount of the benefit on the basis of the average income paid to the employee in the last six months; the Health Insurance Fund calculates the amount on the basis of the social tax paid for the employee in the last calendar year.