Top ten work accidents which can result in a Personal Injury claim
Even at the best of times, a workplace can hold hazards. If poorly managed, it can prove an extremely dangerous place and cause Personal Injury.
If you are injured at a workplace, whether you are an employee, a contractor or a visitor, you may be able to claim compensation for Personal Injury. For this claim to be successful, you would have to prove negligence by the company/employer.
The type of accidents that might occur will depend very much on the nature of the workplace — for instance, whether it is an office, a factory or a building site. We have compiled a list of ten of the most common workplace injuries;
1. Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is an injury that can occur in almost any kind of workplace. Although often associated with computer use, it is also common among workers who operate any kind of machinery in a repetitive fashion, often (though not always) when small movements are required.
RSI can lead to a number of different medical issues, ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to back strain, or problems with vision. RSI can often be extremely painful and take a long time to heal, resulting in the person affected being unable to do their job over a substantial period.
An employer can take various safeguards against workers getting RSI, such as ergonomic equipment, on-the-job training and scheduling regular breaks. If these have not been used, you would have a reasonable case for a Personal Injury claim, although this may also be possible even if some measures have been taken.
2. Slipping, tripping and falling injuries
Another hazard potentially present in any workplace is the risk of slipping and tripping. This can be caused if the floor has been left slippery, either by a spillage or unsafe cleaning practices, or if small objects have been left lying around. This can include loose cables.
Slips and trips can cause severe injuries. Falling from heights is likely to be very serious, and potentially fatal. This risk is most common in the construction industry, but can be present in other industrial or agricultural settings.
All employers should carry out adequate risk assessments and have safety policies in place to minimise these risks, including safety equipment and staff training. If their policies are inadequate or not implemented, they are likely to be liable to pay compensation for any accidents.
3. Vehicle-related injuries
In many industries, employees are required to drive vehicles, such as lorries, cars or onsite vehicles such as fork-lifts or tractors. If these vehicles are involved in an accident resulting in injury to the driver, a passenger or another person, the employer may be liable for compensation.
If the vehicle is used in relation to the business, it is normally up to the employer to ensure that it is in safe working order, that safety equipment (including seat-belts) is provided, and that staff are fully trained to use the vehicle. In the case of a vehicle used onsite, they will also need to train other workers who may come into contact with it.
However, this will clearly not apply when an employee’s personal vehicle is being used, for example, to travel to and from work.
4. Machine-related injuries
If you work in construction, manufacturing or agriculture, it is likely that you will be working with heavy machinery. It is the nature of machines that they have moving parts, and there is always the risk of becoming entangled with the machinery, resulting in anything from cuts and lacerations to crushed bones, amputations or death.
The owner of any workplace where heavy machinery is in use has the duty to ensure that it is operating safely, and that anyone who is in contact with it has the necessary safety equipment and training. If this is not the case, you would have a good case for claiming compensation for any Personal Injury you might suffer.
5. Injuries from falling objects
The hazard of falling objects is perhaps most obvious in a warehouse or on a construction site, but it can happen in any workplace where objects are stored on shelves or in cupboards. This can include, for instance, a shop or an office, and various injuries, including head trauma, can result.
Employers have the duty to ensure all objects stored or used at height are kept secure, and that all staff are fully trained in how to stay safe. They must also provide whatever safety equipment is needed, whether that is hard hats or tethers for tools. Failure to do so leaves them liable to claims for Personal Injury compensation.
6. Injuries from dangerous substances
Many substances used in workplaces are potentially hazardous or even fatal, if correct precautions are not taken. These may be substances used as part of an industrial or agricultural process, but something as mundane as a cleaning chemical could be dangerous if misused.
Use of all dangerous substances is regulated by the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations, which lay out very clear duties for both employer and employee. If the employer has failed to meet their requirements, including providing appropriate training for staff, you could make a claim if your health suffers as a result.
7. Muscle strain injuries
If your job involves bending and twisting; lifting, carrying, pulling or pushing heavy objects, or maintaining fixed positions for a long time these tasks have to be carried out in the correct manner otherwise you are vulnerable to various injuries. The most common is back strain, which can be painful and debilitating and could take a long time to resolve, or in some cases cause permanent back symptoms.
Employers must provide full manual handling training to anyone whose job might involve these tasks. Employers must look for ways to avoid manual handling and if they cannot, they must take steps to reduce the risk of injury. If you feel your injury has resulted from a failure to do so, you may have a good chance of claiming compensation.
8. Injuries from cuts and lacerations
You do not need to be working with heavy machinery to suffer from cuts or lacerations. Any kind of sharp tools, such as saws, can inflict painful injuries, as can many items of office equipment, such as paper trimmers.
Employers must provide the training needed to keep their workers safe, as well as ensuring that the equipment itself is maintained to avoid unnecessary dangers.
9. Industrial deafness
Workplaces can sometimes be noisy places. Whether this is a general thing, such as the operation of heavy machinery, or more localised, where for instance a worker is operating power tools, prolonged exposure can result in loss of hearing.
Employers must ensure that safety equipment such as ear protectors is available. They must also have policies, such as regular breaks in noise-free environments, and ensure that these are correctly applied.
10. Injuries from workplace violence
An employer who fails to provide basic training and supervision of staff may be liable to pay compensation for any injury resulting from workplace violence. It is more likely that the colleague responsible for the violence would be held responsible for compensation, as well as criminal prosecution. However, it is less certain that they would have the financial resources to pay, especially if they had lost their job as a result. In certain circumstances the Employer can have Vicarious Liability which means they can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment.
Contact Osborne Morris & Morgan Solicitors
There are many other ways in which you could be injured in the workplace or in the course of carrying out your job. If you feel your work-related injury has been wholly or partly the result of negligence by your employer or a colleague, please contact our specialist Personal Injury solicitors to discuss whether you have a case for claiming Personal Injury compensation. You can do this either by phone on 01525 378177 or online.