Injury at Work – The Facts

Despite the relatively strict workplace health and safety laws in place thousands of people each year will suffer an injury at work. Injuries can occur at any time, from falls on construction sites to neck strain injuries from sitting in the incorrect position at a desk in the office.

Workers are protected in two key ways:

1. The law of negligence. This is the long-held principle that employers owe employees a duty of care – a responsibility to take care of them whilst they are at work. This duty of care is divided into four principles:
a) To provide a safe place of work – e.g. floors to be free from trip or slip hazards;
b) To provide a safe system of work – e.g. machinery to be turned off before any maintenance works are carried out;
c) To provide a competent staff of men – e.g. fellow workers to be safe and suitably trained
d) To provide adequate plant and materials – e.g. to provide construction workers with protective hard hats

2. Specific health and safety laws which set out detailed requirements including risk assessments and training.

Some specific health and safety laws in place include:

a) The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 – these laws govern what the employer must do when it comes to lifting activities such as risk assessments, ensuring there is two-man lift and more;

b) The Work at Height Regulations 2005 – these protect workers working at height. There should be a careful risk assessment regarding both the risk of a fall, and the risk of falling objects, following which a safe system of work should be put into place;

c) The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These are perhaps the most important health and safety laws of all when it comes to the workplace as they provide detailed requirements for risk assessments and training;

d) The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – these regulations provide detailed requirements for working with potentially dangerous equipment such as saws;

e) The Construction Regulations 2015 – as the name suggests, these govern construction sites such as ensuring the site is clear of hazards;

f) The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 – these include requirements such as floors being free of slip or trip hazards, workplaces to have adequate heating and lighting, cleanliness and many more.

In addition, if an injury at work occurs following a general UK law being broken, such as the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, the employer could be liable.

If an employer has been negligent and/or broken a health and safety law, and it leads to a worker being injured, that worker will be able to claim for compensation for both their injuries and any financial losses such as lost earnings.

However, it is not just the employer that has to abide by the law – if someone suffers an injury at work because of the actions of an employee, as long as what the employee did was connected to their employment, the employer will take the blame. This rule includes an employee being violent to another.

Workers can also be injured at work over the course of time, such as noise induced hearing loss, which is referred to as “industrial disease.” Industrial disease includes hearing damage, vibration white finger, repetitive strains and many more.

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Like any personal injury claim evidence is the key to success so ensure your accident is recorded in the accident book. If the employer will not allow you to record it in the accident book make a careful note of the accident instead including the time, date, location, witnesses and to whom it was you reported the accident to. If you are injured it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible

Aston Knight Solicitors specialise in workplace injuries and have dealt successfully with many high value cases in which people have been left severely and permanently injured. The laws regarding workplace injuries can be very complex and as such it is crucial to instruct a specialist solicitor with a proven track record in these types of cases.

For more information or to start your injury at work claim, please call us on 0161 447 9191 and we’ll be happy to help.