There seems to be a lot of activity in Leeds City Centre at the moment with roadworks and building renovation and repair underway. As I was driving home last night I noticed that one such project was obviously so urgent that a group of men were working late into the evening with the assistance of generator powered lighting!
This made me reflect on how the law has changed over the past few years in terms of protecting employees whilst they are carrying out their jobs. Thankfully the days when the law provided little protection have long since gone and we now live in an age when the law recognises that employers owe a duty of care to their employees to make sure that they can do their jobs safely. If an employer breaches that duty then he may be considered to be “negligent”. However, over and above that there is also a raft of laws specifically designed to address particular potential hazards in the workplace. So, for example, there are specific laws to protect people who work at height, or in the construction industry or who lift heavy weights or operate machinery. The list goes on. But the fact is that these laws are all there to protect employees by making sure that emploeyrs take their responsibilities to create a safe working environment for their staff seriously.
The duty imposed on an employer is often high and this is for obvious reasons – the effect of an accident at work can have serious consequences for an employee who may suffer injury and if he or she is then unable to work as a result of the accident. Some employers have schemes that guarantee an income if an employee is absent from work because of an accident. Others however, do not and this can have a devastating affect on the injured employee and his/her family who suddenly see a drop in income into the home.
The law provides that an employee who is injured at work because of the negligence or breach of law by his or her employer can make a claim for compensation. This will cover loss of earnings, any medical expenses, the cost of any care the injured person needs after the accident and any losses they are likely to suffer in the future. They are also entitled to claim compensation for the injuries themselves.
My advice to anybody who has been injured as a result of an accident at work is to seek advice from a solicitor as to their rights to claim compensation. Sometimes it may seem that there is no fault on the part of the employer but a solictor who knows what the law requires of an employer wil be able to advise you on whether you may be able to make a claim.