Accident at work: what to do?

An accident at work can be light or fatal. In any case, it is important to avoid him if possible. But what if I get caught and injured my leg at the construction site? Or if I have an accident on my way to the office? If you take the most important steps after the emergency care has been taken, you will be spared further inconvenience. You have to pay attention to this during an accident at work ...

Definition: What is an accident at work?
Definition: What is an accident at work?The good news first: The risk of suffering an accident at work is decreasing. From 2015 to 2016, it has fallen by 0.4 percent according to figures from the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) . The number of serious accidents at work , including fatal ones, even fell by 3.9 percent.

The bad news: Hundreds of thousands of accidents still happen between coffee kitchen and construction site every year . In 2016 alone, there were 877,071 reportable accidents at work in Germany, which resulted in a work incapacity of more than three days. There were 14,132 serious accidents at work during this period.

Not yet answered is the question of what an accident at work is. The DGUV defines it simply as:

Accidents at work are the accidents suffered by insured persons as a result of the insured activity.

And further:

An accident event is a temporary external impact on the body that causes damage to health.

By no means meant only accidents occurring directly during the exercise of the profession ...

Work accident: who can have one?
The decisive factor is: If an accident is recognized as an accident at work , the injured party is entitled to benefits from the statutory accident insurance.

But it's not just workers that can do that. Also, students in school, children in kindergarten or first responders at the scene are protected by law under certain circumstances. As so often applies here: on the individual case is important (more on the same).

The protection of accident insurance, for example, takes effect when ...

a volunteer stumbles and injures himself in the exercise of his honorary post
a student crashes on a school trip and injured his leg
a worker stores, repairs or renews work tools while being injured by a splinter
a worker slips during a company outing and injures his back
an employee injured in company sports
Also so-called road accidents fall under it. The accident insurance comes into effect if you have an accident as a commuter on your way to work - under certain circumstances even if you have driven a detour.

Example: You take a detour to bring your daughter to kindergarten beforehand . The same applies if you have to divert from a construction site , form a carpool , or choose a longer route that will take you much faster to your destination.

Accident at work: examples
Typical accidents at work are caused by:

Tripping, kinking, falling, sliding out
Uncoordinated movements
Crashes and crashes
Movements with physical stress (lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing)
Loss of control when handling machines, workpieces, objects
Tearing, breaking, bursting, collapsing materials
Objects falling on the victim
The classic counter-example: an employee suffering a heart attack at the desk . In this case, it is not an "external impact on the body". The statutory accident insurance assumes no costs.

And in principle, it does not assume any material assets - with two exceptions:

Property damage suffered by a first responder, for example torn clothes
Aids such as glasses, which are damaged by the accident at work
Accident at work: Who am I insured with?
It depends on the individual case whether an accident is recognized as an accident at work. If this is the case, the statutory accident insurance covers costs for medical treatment , injured allowance during incapacity for work, retraining , handicapped-accessible reorganization of the workplace, accidental pension for permanent damage to health or even a survivor's pension in the event of death.

If, on the other hand, the accident is not recognized as an accident at work , the accident insurance institution informs the health insurance company of the refusal. The health insurance then takes over the necessary medical services.

The nine employers' liability insurance associations decide on recognition or rejection . They are structured by industry. Example: The food and beverage trade association represents the employees in the catering industry. If in doubt, ask your employer (or HR department) who is responsible for you.

Civil servants employed in the public sector are responsible for the regional accident funds . The agricultural professional association takes on employees in agriculture and forestry, including working family members.

Accident at work: what to do?
The first step, of course: Go to the doctor. You are looking for a so-called Durchgangsarzt . This decides whether special treatment is required at the specialist or accident doctor . Your employer has a list of transit physicians.

In principle, an accident at work leading to more than three days of disability must be reported to the accident victim. In many cases, employers can do that through an online form . The accident insurance checks whether it is an occupational accident and services are taken over.

Tip: Report every accident to the accident carrier. This will protect you in the event that consequential damage occurs.

The accident carrier may also use medical assessors, such as surgeons, orthopedists or neurologists. Tip: You can also suggest reviewers themselves (if they are technically suitable).

And: If the accident at work is not recognized as such, you have the option of filing an objection with the accident insurance agency . Theoretically, you can even go all the way to the Social Court.

Curious accidents at work: crashed from beer bank
Accident at work: Fall off the beer benchAccident at work or no accident at work? Answering this question is sometimes harder than expected.

So also in May 2012. A teacher had participated in a class trip to Munich, went there with her Pennälern on the Spring Festival. The beer bench, on which teachers and students danced wildly , toppled over, the teacher injured her back and was incapacitated for a month .

The Administrative Court of Stuttgart made it a service accident. It was not at all about private pleasure, but about an official program item on the school trip, in which the teacher participated as a responsible escort and supervisor . The accident insurance had to step in.

Even a leisurely Sunday stroll can end up as a service accident. A 60-year-old had wanted to cross the crosswalk when he was hit by a car and injured. The man was undergoing rehabilitation and had been advised to exercise weight loss. The Social Court of Dusseldorf ruled in June 2017: Serious accident.

And another case of frowning: a 44-year-old railway employee had been searched by the police for suspicion of stealing valuables from a piece of luggage. At the police station she had to completely undress and undergo a body search. The mental illness , which she apparently suffered - in concrete terms: feelings of helplessness and powerlessness - evaluated the Hessian State Social Court in October 2017 as an occupational accident.

But the dishes are not always that generous. For example, a payroll clerk recently took part in a beer hike . She fell and injured her left forearm. No accident at work, said the Hessian state social court .

Reason: If only a small proportion of employees take part in a sports event that was also organized by third parties, participation is no longer protected by the statutory accident insurance.

Accident at work: These occupations are dangerous
Please take care! This advice applies in everyday work especially craftsmen . They are the statistically most vulnerable occupational group. According to DGUV data, around 35 percent of all reportable accidents at work are in the hands of craftsmen - more than one in three.

These occupations are also at risk (in brackets the proportion of all reportable accidents at work):

Craftsmen and related professions : 35.3 percent
Service workers , sellers in shops and markets: 15.5 percent
Auxiliary workers : 15.0 percent
Plant and machine operators and assemblers : 13.9 percent
Technicians and equivalent non-technical professions: 9.1 percent
Office staff , commercial employees : 8.3 percent
Academic professions : 1.4 percent
Professionals in agriculture / forestry and fisheries: 0.9 percent
Executives (plant managers, etc.): 0.5 percent

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