Accidents At Work
Every year thousands of workers are unfortunate enough to be injured at work. If the accident was not your fault you may be entitled to pursue a claim.
If you are hurt as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to bring a claim for personal injury. This would entitle you to compensation for the injury that you have sustained and for any out of pocket expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. This may include loss of earnings and the cost of medication and, for example, travel to and from the hospital or any other medical appointments.
If you do incur any such expenses, it is important that you retain your receipts and any other documentary evidence to support a claim for out of pocket expenses.
Types of Work Place Accidents
It is your employer’s responsibility to make sure you are safe at work and carrying out your tasks without the risk of injury. However, sometimes they breach their duty of care to you and the following show examples of where an accident at work can occur:
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations place a duty on every employer to ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
Example. You broke you arm getting it caught in a work door, which you later found out had a faulty locking mechanism. Under the Regulations, the door is a piece of work equipment and because it was broken and caused your accident, your employer would be responsible for your injuries.
The regulations also confirm that every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided. In selecting work equipment, your employer shall have regard to the working conditions and to the risks to your health and safety.
Example. You suffered a back injury whilst moving some crates on a trolley when your employer should have provided a forklift truck. Your employer failed to provide suitable work equipment and the injury could have been avoided. Your employer is responsible for your back injury and compensation.
Injuries From Lifting Loads
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations place a duty of care on your employer to make sure they try to avoid the need for you to undertake manual tasks which involve a risk to you being injured.
In some areas of work, you cannot avoid manual tasks, which is why the Regulations place specific duties on your employer:
a) to make suitable and sufficient assessment of the manual operations at work, and
b) take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury.
If your employer has not carried out an assessment of your manual job or has failed to take steps to avoid the risk of in injury then they will be responsible for your injuries.
Slips Or Trips
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations place a reasonable duty on your employer to make sure every floor in a workplace and every traffic route is kept free from obstructions, articles or substances which may cause you to slip, trip or fall.
These Regulations also state that every floor in a workplace and very traffic route in a workplace shall be of a suitable construction for which it is used. This means the floor should be of a suitable material for what it is used for. A marble floor in a kitchen for example, would not be a suitable floor surface.
More importantly, the Regulations confirm that workplace floor or traffic routes shall have NO hole or slope, or be uneven or slippery to expose you to a risk to your health and safety.
Construction Site Injuries
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations place a duty on all people involved on a construction site for their business. The Regulations provide a number of duties, some of which are below:
- there shall be suitable and sufficient access to and egress from the site
- every place of work shall have sufficient working space
- every part of a construction site shall be kept in good order
- every construction site shall be organised so pedestrians and vehicles can move safely without risk to health
- no timber or other material with projecting nails shall be used if a source of danger to you
- all suitable steps shall be taken to stabilise a structure
- all demolition or dismantling shall be planned and carried out in such a manner to prevent danger
- all practicable steps taken to prevent danger to you on any excavation, use the provision of supports or battering where necessary
If you are self employed for tax reasons you may be classed as “employed” for the purposed of protection under these Regulations. Your accident claim may be against a number of people for example, the main contractor and sub-contractor and we can help to advise you on this.
Accidents Caused By Colleagues
Your employer is responsible for their employee’s actions, if their actions are committed in the course of their employment. This is known as Vicarious Liability.
The employer would pay your compensation if you sustained an injury as a result of an employee performing an authorised act in an unauthorised way.
Exposure To Harmful Noise/Substances
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations are concerned with substances hazardous to health, which include chemicals, airborne dusts, micro-organisms, biological agents and respiratory sensitisers. The Regulations place a duty on your employer:
- to carry out formal risk assessments
- to prevent or control exposure to risks
- to ensure proper personal protective equipment
- to monitor exposure to you
- no timber or other material with projecting nails shall be used if a source of danger to you
- to provide information and training to you regarding hazardous substances.
Falls From Height
The Work at Height Regulations state that your employer shall ensure that work is only carried out at height, if there is no alternative. If the work must be carried out at height, your employer must take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent you from falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.
If you are working at height, then your employer should have considered sufficient work equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall. They should consider providing you with additional training and instruction on using this work equipment or working at height.
Working at height is defined as any place including a place at or below ground level. There are no height measurements required for these Regulations so they will apply to your employer even if you are working on a small 2 run step ladder placing a book on a shelf.
The Regulations also place a duty on your employer to take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent, the fall of any material or object that could cause you injury. Your employer must make sure no material or object is thrown or tipped from height in circumstances where it is likely to cause you an injury.
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