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Health and safety at work

Health and safety at work should be basic rights. No one goes to work expecting to be injured.

All workplaces in Great Britain, regardless of size and nature of business, are covered by The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

This is an important piece of legislation that aims to protect workers from the risk of injury or ill health; it covers temporary, agency or casual workers as well as permanent staff.

Within the Act there are separate regulations covering specific areas of work, but the basic principles are to:

  1. Provide a safe working environment that is properly maintained and ensure operations within in it are conducted safely. This requires employers to carry out risk assessments and to ensure that any risks identified are properly addressed; and
  2. Ensure adequate training for staff so that health and safety procedures are understood and adhered to.

Workplace injury

You’d expect that with rigorous health and safety regulations in place for almost 50 years, people would be safe at work by now. But, last year almost 1.7 million suffered some form of workplace illness. This figure includes physical injury, death, musculoskeletal injury and work-related stress.

Our personal injury lawyers work with clients suffering from a wide range of workplace injury. Sadly, we also work with bereaved families when their loved one has a fatal accident at work.

Recovering compensation

The amount of compensation we are able to recover depends on a number of things, including the degree of injury and the impact it had on the client. Recent cases include:

Occupational asthma – our client was a railway worker who was made redundant because of ill health. During his employment he was exposed to dust from grinding work and fumes from epoxy resin paints, and as a result he developed occupational asthma. His condition caused significant disability which has impacted greatly on his state of mind. Had his employer followed proper health and safety guidance, particularly with regard to ventilation and training, the illness could have been avoided. Compensation of £110,000 was secured for the client.

Back injury – this client worked in retail and part of her job involved moving stock from the delivery bay to the storeroom and carrying stock from the storeroom to the shop floor. When a job involves manual handling, the risk assessment needs to take into consideration the height, weight and capability of the worker in relation to the loads to be moved. In this case the risk was not assessed. The weight was excessive and as a result, our client sustained a back injury that has dramatically altered her life. Compensation in excess of £65,000 was secured for the client.

Find out more about workplace injury and how we can help here: