When is an industrial accident?

It was a day that begins for Peter like any other day. But around one o'clock in the afternoon, the day took a terrible turn when, while welding, Peter was called by a colleague to help him fix a malfunction on a sawing machine. Thinking the power was off and the safety limiters were on, Peter stuck his hand into the machine to unscrew the saw blades. At that moment, the blades started spinning and Peter got his glove caught between the blades. He had to stay in the hospital for five days. Initially at the hospital they tried to preserve Peter's thumb and two fingers, but they had to be amputated anyway. Peter was unable to work for a year and then slowly resumed work.


An accident is in a small corner and can happen to you just like that: (permanent) injury from an industrial accident! But when is an industrial accident?

What exactly do we mean by workplace accident injuries and what are the consequences?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, personal injury caused by a work-related accident can be defined as, "an event at work or during working hours that immediately results in damage to a person's health." When an accident occurs during working hours, it is called a workplace accident or occupational accident. Industrial accidents can cause both physical and psychological injuries.

With physical injury we can imagine all kinds of things, but what about with psychological injury?

These include injuries sustained due to high work pressure and the relationship between psychological injury resulting from physical injury. An accident often shows more damage on the outside. But a victim may also be dealing with; pain, sadness, anxiety, dejection and/or diminished sense of life.

A classic industrial accident is an accident that occurs in the course of work or as a result of that work. It does not have to be an accident in the premises of the company itself. Even an accident at an external work location or on the public road may simply be considered an industrial accident. In principle, an accident during commuting does not fall under the definition of an industrial accident. However, there are exceptions here as well. Consider, for example, commuting between home and work while using an employer's vehicle, or when working from home while using a leased car.

Who determines whether there are damages resulting from a workplace accident?

First, there must be a finding of a work-related accident. The employee "need only" make it clear that he/she suffered an injury while at work. After that, the employer will have to prove that it is not legally at fault for the workplace accident. As soon as an employer can be blamed for "anything" at all, he is in principle liable. Even if he can actually do little or nothing about it. In the event of an industrial accident, the law seeks to "extra protect" the employee as a weaker party than the employer. After all, the employee has no influence on the way work is done. That is up to the employer.

The next step is for a medical professional to determine that there is a causal relationship between the workplace accident and the medical complaints (injuries) sustained.

There is a lot involved in a workplace accident. In addition to the health aspects, many financial issues arise and experts need to get involved to advise both the employer and the employee. An employee often has an advocate who monitors and represents the employee's (legal) interests. The employer is usually insured and the insurer also has an expert, both are often lawyers, who represents the insurer's interests.

You will understand that the (financial) interests are quite different. Therefore, partly due to court rulings, a code of conduct has been drawn up by and for insurers, victims and advocates. The so-called code of conduct "Handling personal injury".

What is role of a Occupational Assessor in this kind of situation?

During a personal injury case, a Occupational Assessor examines a personal injury victim's workload capacity and whether the victim can still perform their own work or modified work. In addition, a Occupational Assessor has the following duties in personal injury cases:

  • Determine residual capacity: The Occupational Assessor assesses whether the injury has resulted in loss of work capacity and, if so, what this means for the employee's residual earning capacity
  • Determining domestic help: If the employee can no longer perform all or part of his or her domestic work due to the injury, a Occupational Assessor can estimate the number of hours of domestic help needed. To do so, he determines which activities can no longer be performed by the employee.
  • Determining self-efficacy. If the injury renders the employee unable to perform some or all of the maintenance in, on and around his or her home and/or garden, the Occupational Assessor can estimate the number of hours of assistance the employee will need for this purpose.
  • Counseling to suitable work and reintegration. The Occupational Assessor investigates whether it is possible to adjust the employee's workplace and/or shift work tasks, if necessary by retraining or retraining the victim. If returning to one's own workplace is not possible, the Occupational Assessor may accompany the employee to another employer and/or other work.

Severe duty of care

As an employer, you have a duty of care. This means that an employer must make every effort to ensure that the employee can do the work safely. Think of safe machines and tools. The employer must also adequately supervise the work of his employees. This means that he sees and recognizes unsafe situations and ensures that these situations are remedied.

Indeed, the employer must do everything possible to prevent an accident, and case law in the Netherlands has very often ruled that the employer's duty of care extends far.

When must an employer report a workplace accident to the Labor Inspectorate?

In some cases, an employer is required to report a workplace accident. Consider a workplace accident with; fatality, hospitalization or permanent injury. Thus, it is important to determine whether or not a workplace accident has occurred.

Some examples of a workplace accident include:

  • In a factory or construction site; accident with tools, machinery, forklift.
  • In an office; high workload, tripping over cables, or accident in the cafeteria.
  • In the hospitality industry; cutting oneself, physical overexertion, slipping, or aggressive customers.

However, an accident at a company outing in which one of the employees is injured can also count as an industrial accident under certain circumstances.

Occupational accident costs

An employer is almost always liable for damages/expenses incurred by an employee due to a workplace accident. Examples include:

  • Extra help (housekeeping assistance);
  • Income;
  • Medical deductible.

In a nutshell, it is all the costs a person has to incur or has incurred as a result of the accident that they would not have had under normal circumstances. But also the loss of career opportunities and the associated salary increases, Smart money/immaterial damages (A compensation for "lost and to be lost enjoyment of life) and the legal help you need and seek.

Puls at your service

As you can see, there is a lot involved in a work injury. In addition to the health aspects, many financial issues arise and experts need to get involved to advise both the employer and the employee. And when an employee unexpectedly drops out due to a work accident, Invero is ready to look at the capacity and possibilities by means of a Occupational health assessment. For more information, visit our website and contact us without obligation.

Get in touch

Would you like to receive more information? Then contact us or request a no-obligation quotation.