The UK is one of the most regulated countries in the world in terms of legislation pertaining to health and safety, especially in the workplace. But even so, statistics show that more than a million people last year reported cases involving breaches of health and safety regulations which resulted in personal injury. So, can you claim compensation for an accident at work if it happens to you?
Accidents can occur for a variety of reasons; people can trip over things, drop things from a height, suffer burns from hot liquids or chemical or electrical burns, be injured while using equipment and machinery, and even while lifting something incorrectly or an item which is too heavy.
The truth of the matter is that if you wish to claim compensation – you are normally required to prove that in some way your employer, or possibly a third party such as a co-worker was negligent, and it was this which caused the accident.
UK employers have wide ranging responsibilities with regard to health and safety in the workplace, including carrying out risk assessments for each job, implementing safety measures to eliminate or reduce any risks identified, and generally creating a workplace which is risk-free and safe, as far as is reasonably possible, so that employees can carry out their duties.
Principal activities associated with safety normally involve assessing risk associated with a particular job, and providing appropriate and essential training in order that employees are aware of any risks and how to mitigate them, as well as the correct procedures which should be followed in order to carry out their work safely.
Employees should carry out their work in the recommended manner and always observe recommended safety precautions and use PPE (personal protective equipment) whenever indicated. However, accidents do happen, and in such circumstances it is essential to identify the cause of the accident and if anything could have been done in order to prevent it from happening.
Clearly the severity of any accident can vary dramatically, from simply slipping on a wet floor and suffering a bump to being seriously injured by malfunctioning machinery, or using potentially dangerous equipment without proper training or without using the correct protective clothing and following recommended operational procedures.
The onus is on the person injured to prove that in some way, the procedures or equipment, or environment, was in some way not safe and in breach of health and safety at work regulations. This is a difficult task to achieve for the uninformed, and so if you do suffer an accident at work it is best to consult and expert in such matters, as clearly any employer will initially try to deny any responsibility for an accident.
Workplace accident claims specialists can offer essential legal and practical advice as to how to move your claim for accident at work compensation forward to a successful conclusion.