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If you work in an office, health and safety at work is probably not something that you worry too much about.

After all, offices are low risk environments. However, they still have many potential hazards which, if not properly addressed, can lead to workplace accidents.

Common office hazards causing accidents at work

  • Slips or trips caused by wet floors, obstacles or incorrectly placed wires
  • Sprain or strain injuries resulting from lifting heavy or large items incorrectly or without proper manual handling training
  • Electrical shocks or burns from use of unsafe, or poorly maintained electrical equipment
  • Falls from height, particularly if you attempting to reach items stored at height without use of a proper ladder

In addition, long term use of poorly adjusted workstations can result in disabling injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain injury affecting the wrist, elbow or shoulder.

Unfortunately, work related stress has also steadily risen in recent years, often as a result of increased pressures in the office and unfair work practices. This can lead to stress induced injuries for office workers, both physical and psychological.

Hazards in the workplace

What does the law say?

All employers, regardless of the type of workplace, should carry out regular safety assessments of any potential hazards. For office workers, this will often include a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment.

They should then take steps to reduce all risks of injury identified, as well as informing staff of any potential for harm and how to deal with it.

Employers have a duty to train staff according to the tasks they are asked to carry out regularly as part of their job roles.

They must introduce and promote safe working practices and provide staff with adequate and well maintained equipment to allow them to work safely.

Can I claim?

Not all workplace injuries will automatically entitle you to claim compensation. However, if your employer has neglected their duties and you suffer an injury as a result, you are entitled to claim compensation for your injury at work.

All businesses within the U.K. must hold Employer’s Liability Insurance to cover such events; your claim would be dealt with by your employer’s insurance company, not by your employer personally.

How much compensation can I claim for a workplace injury?

There is no guaranteed amount of compensation; the sum you receive will depend on the type and severity of your injuries and the effect they have on your daily life.

While each workplace injury award is different, below is an estimate of the amount of compensation expected for some common injuries suffered following an accident in the office.

Muscle sprains or strains

You may be entitled to compensation ranging from a few thousand pounds to in excess of £26,000 depending upon the nature, severity and longevity of your injury.

Back or spinal injuries

If you suffer a serious back injury at work, such as a compression fracture of the lumbar vertebrae, prolapsed disc or injuries leading to chronic conditions you may receive compensation ranging from £10,000 to £151,000.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Repetitive Strain Injuries

Compensation for work related upper limbs disorders will vary, depending on the severity of symptoms, impact on your ability to work and home life as well as the availability and effectiveness of any treatment.

The awards vary from a few thousand pounds, where you recover completely within a few weeks or months, to over £21,000 where the injury results in continuing disability with surgery and loss of employment.

Psychiatric injury – stress induced injury

Compensation for work related stress where symptoms are not prolonged may attract awards of between £5,500 – £17,900.
Cases of work related stress resulting in long standing disability preventing a return to comparable employment may attract an award of up to £51,000.

Do I have a case?

If you are hurt and think your employer is at fault, proving this can be more difficult than you may think. Seeking early advice from a specialist injury at work solicitor can significantly increase your chances of winning and maximising your compensation.

At Aston Knight Solicitors all our case handlers are qualified and experienced solicitors who will carefully assess and explain the merits and potential pitfalls of your case. Please contact us for a free initial consultation on 0161 399 1231.

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