The recent news about a Policeman shot whilst on a training course has certainly made people think. One day you’re going in to work as you do every day, the next day you are injured. Whilst there are not many of us for whom the consequences of an accident are death (let’s face it, there aren’t that many of us that go on courses involving the use of live ammunition) there is always the possibility of being injured whilst at work.
So what can you do if you are injured at work?
Your employer has statutory obligations to do certain things. These are set out under various regulations, generally and colloquially called Health and Safety at Work. There is not just one statute which sets out what employers need to do, but several regulations dealing with separate areas. Generally these cover most situations and workplaces.
Firstly employers need to provide their staff with a risk free workplace. This covers everything from being able to move around your workplace safely without tripping or slipping, to being able to sit at your desk comfortably without getting back ache, to not exposing employees to dangerous chemicals.
Secondly they need to provide safe plant and equipment. This means that the machines that are used should be in good working order, have all the necessary safety and cut out switches, and have guards fitted and in tact.
Additionally the employers need to ensure that you are provided with equipment that keeps you safe. This includes everything from boots to gloves to overalls, helmets and harnesses.
Thirdly employers need to provide adequate training; not just on how to do the job but how to do it safely and with minimum risk. Your employers have an obligation to train you to do the job in the safest way, e.g. if you are lifting heavy objects, they must show you the best way to lift. They should also check each job to ensure that their staff are doing things in the safest way e.g. if staff are lifting boxes regularly, the boxes are packed evenly and aren’t top heavy, or that all protective equipment has been provided and the staff are trained to use the equipment properly. The employers also need to ensure that, if a job is potentially dangerous, there is no safer way to conduct it.
Finally, employers have to provide competent colleagues. This means that the people you work with have to be able to do their job safely and properly and not injure you as a result of the manner in which they are carrying out their job.
Overall the employer has a duty to take reasonable care of his employees to ensure that they are safe in doing their job.
If you are injured, then you have the right to be put back into the position you would have been had the accident not happened. Whilst no lawyer can take away the injury, we can claim compensation for it. Additionally the claim would include any other losses incurred, such as loss of earnings, loss of pension, loss of opportunity for promotion, the cost of physiotherapy and any other treatment.
At Linder Myers we have acted successfully in many accident at work claims including, contracting a fatal industrial disease, amputations in unguarded rotary saws, tripping on a building site, slipping in a works canteen and falling downstairs in the workplace.