Around 25,000 people are involved in serious industrial accidents in the UK every year. Industrial accidents can occur at any time, regardless of profession and work situation. The injuries sustained also may vary from minor discomfort to serious injury and death.
If you have been injured in an accident at work, it can be a particularly difficult and stressful time for you.As these injuries tend to have a greater impact on your ability to work and your household finances, we get to work straight away to ensure that you suffer the minimum of disruption.
Depending on the type of injury you sustained, we work with your employer or their insurer to provide you with rehabilitative treatment (e.g. physiotherapy, counseling) to aid your recovery and get you back to work as soon as possible.
The principal Regulations affecting the health and safety of employees now derive from a group of EC Directives, which were implemented in the UK in 1992. These are:
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999: generalises and rationalises the approach to preventative health and safety.
- Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992: protects a person who habitually uses display screen equipment as a significant part of his normal work, whether self-employed or an employee.
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992: protects employees performing any 'manual handling operation' (e.g. transporting, supporting, lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving a load by hand or bodily force; a load includes a person or animal) anywhere at work, except on board a ship.
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998: protects employees when using all work equipment, including machinery, appliances, apparatus, and tools (i.e. a tractor, lawn-mower, ladder, portable drill, and butcher's knife, display screen equipment) at work, anywhere except on board a ship (but including offshore installations).
- Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations: covers equipment intended to be worn or held by a person at work which protects him against a risk or risks to his health and safety, including accessories or additions designed for that purpose, and includes clothing intended to protect against the weather. The Regulations protect employees and regulate employers and the self-employed in respect of themselves, anywhere at work, except on board ship, but including work within territorial waters and on offshore installations.
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992: covers non-domestic premises used as a place of work and accessible places therein, together with access corridors, lobbies, stairs, roads etc, but not on or in a ship, a construction site, nor agricultural or forestry workplaces away from the undertaking's main buildings. Offshore installations for mineral extraction are not covered. The Regulations certainly cover employees and, probably, anyone else within the workplace. The Regulations regulate employers and every person who 'has, to any extent, control of a workplace' in connection with a 'trade, business or other undertaking (whether for profit or not)' so far as matters are within his control.
- Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996: covers 'construction work (including building work or repair, renovation, redecoration, maintenance and some specialised cleaning processes; site preparation; demolition; and the installation of the mains supply and telecommunications services), but not a construction site 'set aside for purposes other than construction work'. The Regulations protect and employees and the self-employed, at work (not necessarily construction work). The Regulations regulate employers and anyone who controls the way in which constructions work is carried out (insofar as the duties relate to matters within their control).
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998: covers lifting equipment provided for use or used by an employee at work.
- Working Time Regulations 1998: covers work by an employee or worker under a contract whereby he undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not that of client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried out by the worker. However, there are a number of excluded areas of work, especially domestic service, sea-fishing, transport, other work at sea, doctors in training, and the uniformed services where the demands of the job inevitably conflict with provisions of the Regulations, and what is known as 'unmeasured working time'.
Some case-law on the area:
- Information and training, where required by the Regulations (as it almost always is) in important and may be a reason to establish liability:O'Neil v DSG Retail : a man carrying a heavy load turned around quickly and instinctively when someone called his name and herniated two discs in his spine. The defendant's argument, that training would have made no difference, was not accepted by the court as such training would have alerted him to the need to avoid sudden reactions to such calls.
- Smith v Notaro Ltd : a man used a barrow on planks laid on earth to access to a construction site. The planks foreseeably sank in the soft earth beneath him causing him to fall. It was found that training would have alerted him specifically to the need to use a stable means of access and he could have then easily used the solid path.
- 'Risk' is to be judged prospectively and not retrospectively, meaning that the Regulations cannot protect against the risk which only becomes apparent after an accident has happened.Palmer v Marks & Spencer : a water-bar which caught the heel of an employee was too low to pose a 'risk' against which the Regulations should guard.
- Searby v Yorkshire Traction: the lack of protective screens in buses was not sufficient of a risk to render the bus unsuitable for use in a night-time urban area.
- 'Suitability' may be extrapolated as used in the other Regulations - 'being appropriate for the risks and the conditions':Fytche v Wincanton Logistics plc .
- Usually obligations are not held to impose strict liability as the Regulations talk of 'so far as reasonably practicable'.Stark v Post Office :where the Regulation replicates a provision of former legislation which imposed strict liability, then the same approach will be adopted to the current Regulations.
Employers have a responsibility to protect their employees, contractors and visitors from accidents and injuries. This entails:
- Providing employees with the necessary machinery and tools to complete their jobs;
- Ensuring that the machines and tools are maintained in a safe condition;
- Ensuring that the workplace is kept in a safe and tidy condition;
- Providing employees with suitable workstations;
- Ensuring that floors and corridors be clean and hazard-free;
- Ensuring that there be no obstruction of doors and gates;
- Providing the necessary safety wear for their employees (goggles, dust masks, safety boots, etc.).
- Providing adequate training (e.g. for lifting heavy objects)
For a successful claim, it must be proven that another person was at fault for the accident (your employer, a fellow employee or another company working on your site/premises).
Our expert team will work with you to take detailed instructions, and to consider all aspects of your claim and maximise the value of your claim.
We can attend you at home, if necessary, to discuss the following key points with you:
- Accident circumstances
- Nature of your injuries
- Out of pocket expenses
- Loss of earnings
We have successfully concluded claims such as:
- A cave-in or collapse
- Being struck by a falling object
- Employees exposed to violent attacks by patients or customers
- Exposure to harmful and dangerous substances
- Inhaling or ingesting harmful substances
- Injuries caused by dangerous or defective machinery
- Injuries caused by lifting/repositioning objects
- Injuries caused by slips and trips (on dangerous/uneven surfaces or discarded items)
- Injuries suffered in the construction industry
- Over extension
- Stepping on, being struck against, or being caught between an object or several objects
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT?
- You should tell your line manager/employer of the accident circumstances and write an entry in the Accident Book.
- You should write a detailed account of what happened, including a sketch of the location, and take photographs if possible.
- You must ensure that you have the name and address of any witnesses.
- You should seek medical advice for your injuries as soon as possible. With some injuries (e.g. whiplash) the symptoms may take a few days to develop, but get medical attention as soon as you can.
- You should keep a record of your out of pocket expenses (e.g. travel expenses, prescription charges, walking sticks, etc.) and keep any receipts.
TIME LIMITS FOR INDUSTRIAL INJURIES
Generally, personal injury claims have a three year time limit i.e. court proceedings have to be issued at least one day before the third anniversary of the accident , otherwise they will be time barred and you will no longer be able to pursue your claim. (There are a few exceptions to this rule and the court does have some very limited discretion to extend the various time limits). You can still pursue a claim for personal injury after the third anniversary of the accident, you just have to make sure court proceedings have been issued before that third anniversary in order to do so. We will be happy to discuss this further with you.
If you are a minor at the time of the accident, i.e. under 18, then the 3-year limitation period starts running after you have turned 18. Furthermore, there also a complicated set of rules that allows the 3 years limitation date period to run from the date of knowledge of the incident/accident. These rules normally apply to clinical/medical negligence cases or industrial disease claims, where there may be a long latency period between the incident giving rise to your claim and you first suffering any symptoms and becoming aware of it. The rules on this are technical and we will, once again, be happy to discuss this in detail with you.
Unfortunately, it is quite common for people to develop an illness or disease in result of coming into contact with a harmful substance in their workplace. Your employer has responsibility to protect your health and safety. Inadequate protection may lead to a variety of industrial illnesses. Compensation Solicitors Online can handle your claim for compensation for industrial disease regardless of whether you are suffering from asbestosis, vibration white finger, occupational asthma or industrial deafness.
ASBESTOS RELATED DISEASES
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and it was often used in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s in manufacturing, construction and shipbuilding. This was due to its qualities of being non-flammable, flexible, virtually indestructible and low-heat conducting. Unfortunately, in addition to being very useful asbestos was also very dangerous. It is made up of millions of fibres which are dangerous when inhaled into the lungs.
Asbestos related diseases take many years to develop with an average of 35 years between the asbestos inhaling and the onset of symptoms. This period may vary between 15 and 50 years.
Therefore, if you have ever worked with asbestos you may be affected. Unfortunately, so can be your wife and children if they have come into contact with the overalls you have worn during your work with asbestos.
There are four main diseases associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres:
- Mesothelioma: a form of cancer mainly affecting the lining of the lungs
- Asbestos related lung cancer
- Asbestosis - a non-malignant scarring of the lung tissue
- Non malignant pleural disease (diffuse pleural thickening and pleural plaques)
The latest figures show the annual number of deaths and newly assessed cases caused by asbestos related diseases as follow:
- Deaths from mesothelioma: 2347
- Estimated asbestos related lung cancer deaths: 2000
- Deaths from asbestosis without mention of mesothelioma: 412
- Newly assessed cases of asbestosis: 725
- Newly assessed cases of diffuse pleural thickening: 440
- Estimated number of cases of non malignant pleural disease reported to specialist physicians: 821
Our professional team has experience in handling asbestos related disease claims for compensation with great success. We understand the hardship that you are going through and we are here to support you and your family by providing excellent legal representation, advice and all the information that you need.
OTHER INDUSTRIAL DISEASES
Other industrial diseases which we may be able to claim compensation for on your behalf include:
- Acute silicosis
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Asthma caused by colophony
- Asthma caused by enzymes
- Asthma caused by flour
- Asthma caused by grain
- Asthma caused by Isocyanates
- Asthma caused by laboratory animals
- Asthma caused by latex
- Benzene poisoning
- Bladder cancer
- Cancer caused by diesel exhaust fumes
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Chemical poisoning
- Chromium related illnesses
- Chronic silicosis
- Dioxin poisoning
- Farmer's lung
- Hand arm vibration syndrome
- Hydrocarbon poisoning
- Industrial deafness
- Irritant contact dermatitis
- Latex allergy
- MEK poisoning
- Mercury poisoning
- Occupational asthma
- Organophosphate exposure
- PCB exposure
- Pesticide poisoning
- Radiation exposure
- Respiratory diseases
- Rubber industry health and safety
- Siderosis (Welder's Lung)
- Solvent exposure
- Toluene exposure
- Vibration white finger
- Welding rod fumes
- Workplace cancer
TIME LIMITS FOR INDUSTRIAL DISEASES
The time limit for bringing a claim for an industrial disease is three years from the moment of knowledge of the disease. Do not delay and contact us as soon as possible to discuss your claim. This way you will avoid becoming time-barred and missing the opportunity to claim your compensation.
There are a variety of funding options open to you. We will discuss these options with you in more detail and where appropriate represent you on a no win no fee basis (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement).
FALL FROM HEIGHT
Our client was standing on a pallet on a forklift and fell from a two-storey height to the ground. He suffered fractured skull and brain damage. We secured compensation of £280,000 for our client.
Our client slipped on a wet floor and hurt his knee. The compensation that we secure for him was for the amount of £12,000.
UNSAFE SYSTEM OF WORK
We represented a worker on a building site who sustained a hand injury. His employer operated an unsafe system of work. We were able to obtain a compensation award of £35 000.
CO-WORKER 'S NEGLIGENCE
We assisted a driver of a heavy goods lorry in obtaining damages of £50 000 when he fell over an unattended item which had been left by a co-worker in the trailer of a lorry, in doing so sustaining a back injury. He was most grateful for our help and has recently referred another two cases to us.
'WHAT ARE MY EMPLOYER'S RESPONSIBILITIES TO ME?'
Very broadly, your employer must provide a safe system of work, safe premises, competent staff, adequate training and supervision.
'DOES MY EMPLOYER PAY PERSONALLY FOR MY CLAIM?'
All employers are required by law to have insurance in place to pay compensation if their staff is negligently injured during the course of their employment.
'CAN I BE SACKED FOR MAKING A CLAIM AGAINST MY EMPLOYER?'
No. The law protects you from being treated unfairly when making a claim. I you were to be sacked, you would have an additional employment law claim for unfair dismissal against your employer.
'SHOULD I MAKE A NOTE OF THE ACCIDENT IN THE FIRM'S ACCIDENT REPORT BOOK?'
Yes. If your employer does not have an accident book, tell your line manager/employer of the accident circumstances and the injuries you sustained and confirm this information in writing if possible (i.e. in a letter/email). You should also make a note of all witnesses who saw you at the accident.
MAKE A CLAIM
If you would like to speak directly to a solicitor for a free and without obligation chat about your case call us on 0203 380 9406 or send us your details, with brief outline, by email to [email protected] and you will receive a prompt response.