Accidents will always happen; however, the law requires that the risk of injury during the course of one’s employment be kept to a minimum.
The key pieces of legislation governing this area of law are:-
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
The main function of these regulations is to protect employees at work.
By way of a short breakdown:
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that employers must provide staff facilities including toilets, washing and refreshment facilities. They must also provide adequate heating, lighting and ventilation and they must also provide safe passageways.
- The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 state that employers must avoid, as far as reasonably practicable, the need for employees to undertake manual handling tasks which involve the risk of injury. The regulations state employers should provide employees with information on the weight of each load and they must also make assessments of manual handling risks. It is stated in this legislation that the risk assessment should consider the task being carried out, the load and the employee’s capabilities e.g. strength.
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 provide that employers should ensure the safety and suitability of work equipment used by their employees. The equipment should be properly maintained and information on how to use the equipment should be given to the employee.
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state that employers should undertake risk assessments to consider risks to their employees and put control measures in place in order to reduce them to the lowest reasonably practicable level. Employers should also appoint a person to oversee the health and safety of their employees, employees should be given health and safety training and the employer should work within the confines of a written health and safety policy.
Some of the most common accidents happen when:
- Lifting, handling or carrying – employees are sometimes asked to lift objects beyond the recommended lifting capacity. Lifting objects in a repetitive manner can also cause strains to the body.
- Slips, trips and falls – can be the result of unmarked hazards, poor floor conditions, spillages and or weather.
- Fall from height- common causes of this can be falls from ladders or scaffolding, poor condition of said ladders and scaffolding and falling down unmarked manholes.
- Contact with moving machines – machines used in the course of one’s employment can sometimes be unguarded or used for varying purposes. Another factor that can cause injury is tiredness whilst using the machine.
- Hit by moving object – a common accident in the construction injury is being hit by a crane or forklift truck.
When any of the above regulations are ignored then an employee could be at risk of an injury, as described above, and as such would be entitled to make a claim for compensation by instructing a solicitor.
Who is to blame?
Employees can only claim for personal injury from their employer if they can show that on the balance of probabilities (i.e. it was more likely than not) that their employer was to blame for the accident, and, as a result of said accident, the employee’s injuries occurred.
Employees can show that their employer was to blame for the accident by showing that the employer was in breach of a common law duty and the above noted regulations.
Making a claim
If you suffer an accident at work, then you should report it to your employer and have the incident noted in the accident book. You should make sure you have the contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident and you should take pictures of what caused your accident. It is always best to seek medical attention in the first instance following your accident. The pictures and witness details should be passed to your solicitor when you open a claim with them.
It is often the case that you can claim for personal injury even if you caused the accident, for example by using faulty equipment. You may also be able to claim as the result of health and safety procedures not being followed.
You may also have a claim for personal injury if an accident at work made a pre-existing injury worse.
It is important to note that victims of personal injury have three years from the date of the accident to lodge a case at court. Should you wish to make a personal injury claim, we would recommend contacting a solicitor as soon as possible to avoid the expiry of that three-year period, after which it is unlikely that you can make a claim for personal injury.
How we can help
If you have suffered an injury and think that you may have a claim, please contact us to discuss the matter on 0800 988 8082 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you right away.