Accidents at work form a large proportion of our case load and they can be as diverse and different as the myriad workplaces and jobs are diverse and different to one another.
Looking at recent tragic events you can see that an accident at work for, say, a coal miner is likely to be very different to one suffered by an office worker or a delivery driver. However, there are common themes to all accident at work claims and very often similar issues need to be addressed and facts proved if a person who has been hurt at work is to win and pursue a compensation claim successfully.
When we all go to work in a morning (or whenever) we have a quite reasonable expectation that we will go home again at the end of the working day in one piece. Whether we are aware of it or not, the law protects us in the work place in many ways because it puts serious duties and responsibilities on anyone who employs someone. Even self employed people are afforded many protections from the law too.
Some of the legal duties on employers are pretty much universal and apply to all jobs and workplaces. For instance, if an individual or a company employs someone they must have Employers’ Liability insurance, or an “EL policy” as it it usually called . The policies are actually supposed to be displayed in the workplace, but that often gets overlooked.
This requirement to have EL cover means, amongst other things, that if you do have an accident and have a strong claim, then you are safe in the knowledge that the claim will be investigated by an insurance company who are good for the money if you succeed. Insurers are canny and tough though, so you would need a lawyer to fight your corner against them. Even if the employer goes bust or is disreputable, you have the protection of the insurance.
Many other legal duties and responsibilities of employers in the workplace are much more work type related. For example, construction work is recognised as a hazardous job and so there are literally hundreds of pieces of legislation relating to it, from working at height regulations to ear defence requirements and compulsory personal protective equipment requirements. By contrast, in an office environment other laws are more relevant, such as those related to working with computer screens and those governing the need to have clear walkways, uncluttered by cabling and other hazards.
Good employers comply with the rules and regulations and, guess what, their workplaces are safer. This means fewer accidents and reducing or at least reasonable EL policy premiums. Everybody is happy!
By contrast, bad employers perhaps don’t follow the rules and regulations. This means more accidents, needless and preventable injuries and a lot of trouble, bother and expense for the employer, possibly even a criminal prosecution in the worst cases.
Health and Safety has been pilloried as a cultural thing – we’ve all heard about the “nanny state”, or “health and grumpy” and it is true that some people or institutions go over the top and beyond both the law and common sense with this issue. However, the serious side of Health and Safety is that it has dragged the workplace out of the dark ages and we ought never to see terribly senseless accidents like limbs being ripped off by ungaurded machines or drivers driving until they are sleeping at the wheel.
Anyone who has an accident at work these days and is hurt ought to consider making a claim very seriously. It is likely that their employer has let them down and that they have a decent chance of succeeding. If you have had an accident why not try our free claims evaluation? Just click the link below this.
That’s all for now!