This is the term used for personal injury claims where an accident occurred at work or in the course of your employment. Common examples of accidents at work include employees slipping on warehouse floors, falling off ladders or get caught in moving machinery. If you suffer an accident at work you may be able to make a claim however as with all personal injury claims you must show that any injuries suffered were the result of an act of negligence made by or on behalf of your employer. Your employer has certain responsibilities and duties towards you.
Employers Duty of Care
Your employer is under a common law duty to take reasonable care of your health and safety during your employment. The duty to take reasonable care includes, providing:
- Competent staff;
- Adequate plant and equipment;
- A safe system of work;
- Suitable training, and
- Safe premises.
Employers must also monitor and inspect workplace and equipment to ensure that they are kept up to date and well maintained. The employer does not have to provide or maintain workplace and equipment personally, however they will only escape liability for an accident resulting from the delegation of their duties if they can show that both them and the person they delegated the task to exercised reasonable care in performing the duty. Therefore, if the employer delegates a specific job to an apparently capable manager and that manager in fact incompetently carries out the task the employer may still be liable.
Not only does your employer have a common law duty to take reasonable care of your health and safety at work, they also have a duty to comply with legislation which is in place to protect you. The raft of legislation out which claims will most commonly be based is known as the “six pack regulations”, which consists of:
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
The regulations provide a requirement on employers to carry out Risk Assessments, the intention being to compel them to foresee the possibility of an accident, rather than simply waiting for it to happen. The regulations also require employers to have arrangements in place to cover health and safety which are integrated with key management systems including planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review.
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
Work equipment must be suitable for its intended purpose, safe for use, used only by people who have received the necessary information and training to allow them to do so safely, and accompanied by any appropriate safety measures.
Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
An employer shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, avoid the need for employees to undertake any manual handling operations which involved the risk of them being injured. However the very nature of many roles and responsibilities within the workplace make it impractical for manual handling to be avoided altogether. When manual handling does become necessary the employer must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of injury, such as providing appropriate manual handling training, adequate assistance by way of competent staff and/or suitable equipment and by ensuring a risk assessment is undertaken.
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
Stipulates general requirements on accommodation standards for nearly all workplaces. Key elements of the workplace which are covered by the regulations include stability, fire detection, electrical installations, emergency routes/exits and walkways being kept free of hazards.
The regulations apply to all workplaces with the exception of ships, constructions sites, mines and quarries.
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
Place a duty on every employer to ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work. Requirements are imposed in relation to, amongst others, compatibility of items of equipment where it is necessary for the employee to wear more than one item simultaneously, the maintenance of the equipment, the provision of information and training in relation to the equipment, and ensuring the personal protective equipment provided is used.
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
Where VDU equipment is in extended use the employee is required to consider the safety of the employee’s whole workstation including equipment, furniture and the work environment generally. This should be done with the employee and where any risks are identified the employer is placed under a strict duty to assess and actively take steps reduce those risks.