Common causes of office injuries and accidents

You couldn’t be safer than sitting indoors, in the warm, generally not touching anything more lethal than a computer keyboard and telephone – could you? Well as far as workplaces go, probably not, but that doesn’t mean that your office is an intrinsically safe environment, as the thousands of accidents that occur in office environments each year in the UK testify.

Mind you, it should be a safe environment – safe as houses. If you employer has diligently undertaken all their legal obligations to keep you safe there shouldn’t be any risk to your health, safety or welfare left unaddressed. This will have included assessing the risks in your working environment, putting the necessary control measures in place and fully training you and your colleagues in health and safety awareness, including such essentials as fire safety and manual handling and lifting and empowering you to be pro-active in keeping your office safe and how to avoid occupational illnesses and injuries.

If you have an employer who has been negligent in carrying out their legal duty of care towards you, many risks that you might not have even been aware of could exist in your seemingly safe environment and might lead to some of the following unfortunately relatively common accidents occurring:

• Slips and trips due to hazards such as cables running across floors and corridors, worn carpeting, unnecessarily slippery floor coverings, spillages not cleaned up quickly, items left in the middle of floor spaces, lack of desk storage allowing items to fall into the floor.

• Falls from standing on furniture (tables and chairs) rather than a step ladder to reach high places or inadequate lighting on stairs.

• Musculoskeletal injuries from attempting to carry, lift, push or pull objects without the appropriate manual handling training.

• Burns and other injuries from electrocution due to using electrical equipment that is faulty or which hasn’t been annually portable appliance (PAT) tested.

• Contamination from asbestos due to incorrectly carried out repair or maintenance to the building you work in.

• Asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty central heating boilers

• Injuries due to working with common office machines with partially exposed moving or very hot parts such as shredders, photocopiers, binding machines and laminators, without training and awareness of the risks such as catching hair, clothing or jewellery.

That’s quite a list for a cosy, safe office and needless to say some of the injuries suffered can be appalling and life changing and a few can be fatal. Health and safety is the key to making sure that a bad day at the office doesn’t suddenly get much, much worse.

Making an office injury claim? Call us today

Injured at work in the office? One of our specialist personal injury solicitors can explain to you all about claiming injury compensation.

To arrange a FREE discussion with one of our personal injury team call us on FREEPHONE FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 e-mail our team at advice@the-personal-injury-solicitors.co.uk

Common causes of injury when working with horses

The British Horse Society, on average, is notified of eight accidents involving horses and persons who ride or work with them, each and every day of the year – and these reports do not by any means represent the total number of accidents and injuries involving working with horses in the UK. There are, in short, a lot of accidents and injuries in the equine sector but the injuries themselves fall mainly into just two main categories:

1) Horse inflicted injuries. These represent by far the most common injuries that are suffered by workers in the equine section. Such horse inflicted injuries usually result from a person being kicked, crushed or dragged by the horse. According to Health and Safety Executive statistics there are two horse inflicted injuries to every one of any other injury type suffered by equine sector workers.

2) Falls from height. – This is a common accident for employees in the equine sector but it is the primary cause of injuries for those not employed in the sector and who spend most of their horse related time riding one horse rather than caring for many horses. Recent statistics from America reveal that 85% of horse related injuries to non-employees are falls.

The accidents generally occur for the following reasons:

Lack of training and awareness – horses can be nervous and unpredictable animals, easily spooked by traffic, sudden noises and unfamiliar phenomena. Like other animals they see humans as either a threat to be frightened of, of no importance at all, or to be obeyed. The failure of a rider or groom to understand or be tutored in basic horse psychology can make them vulnerable to accidents caused by the natural reactions of the horse, including the speed, force and reach of their defensive kick. The sheer bulk and weight of a horse can also be the main factor in accidents in which crush injuries are sustained.

A mis-match of rider and horse – horse size and temperament have to be matched to rider experience. When they are not such mis-matches have been statistically shown to be the primary causal factor in the majority of equine accidents.

Lack of suitable clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) – Suitable clothing and PPE are essential for the health and safety of anybody who rides a horse.

It is the legal duty of the employer or the person in total or partial control of an equine establishment to ensure that their employees and those who aren’t employees operate in safe environment. A specialist personal injury solicitor can explain the eligibility criteria to any injured equine worker thinking about claiming injury compensation.

Making a horse injury claim

To arrange a FREE discussion with one of our personal injury solicitors call us on FREEPHONE FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 e-mail our team at advice@the-personal-injury-solicitors.co.uk

 

Burn injuries at work – how common are they?

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) include burn injuries in a statistical category that also contains injuries arising from explosions, electricity and drowning, but as explosions and electrical injuries almost always cause burns we can still get a good ‘ball park’ idea of the how common burn injuries are. The HSE statistic for 2010-11 reveal that one in every seven workplace fatalities fell into the ‘burns injuries’ category – a remarkably high proportion. However, for the non-fatal ‘burns injuries’ the proportion was one in a hundred workplace injuries. However low a proportion you think that might be, when you consider that the HSE approximated that 591000 non-fatal workplace accidents occurred 2010-11, that means that the number of non-fatal ‘burns injuries’ was nearly 6000. Not a negligible figure at all, especially bearing in mind that some of those ‘non-fatal’ injuries would have been acute and permanently life changing.

The difference between the fatal and non-fatal burn injuries proportions might appear suspiciously extreme at first glance until we investigate some research into burn injuries in the workplace, based on two year retrospective data, carried out in Georgia, USA five years ago and published last year. The statistical findings were:

• 15% of burns injuries presenting at hospital occurred in the workplace (as compared to the 25% reported by the HSE in the UK).

• 90% of the victims were male.

• 1% died as a result of their burns.

• The average age of the victims was 37 years

• The average length of stay in hospital was 5½ days.

• 29% worked in industry.

• 15% in food outlets.

• 15% in the electricity industry or electrical goods stores

• 13% in the automotive sector.

Those victims working in industry suffered the most severe burns averaging up to 60% of total body surface area (TBSA) and those working in food outlets the least serious burns averaging below 5% TBSA.

When it is considered that 20% TBSA is considered a major burn it begins to become clearer why the proportion of fatal burns injuries to other fatal injuries in the HSE statistics is so shockingly high. The statistics from the American study appear to suggest that if you do suffer a workplace burns injury, you are more likely to be working in industry than any other sector and your injuries are likely to be more severe than those burns injuries suffered by individuals working in any other sector and your chances of dying from those injuries subsequently higher.

If you have suffered a burn injury at work that was not your fault, you might have grounds for a compensation claim.

Contact our specialist personal injury solicitors for free advice

Our team will advise you on whether you have a claim, and provide your claim is strong enough, will sign you up to a no win no fee agreement, so you don’t have to worry about paying legal costs.

Wherever you live in England and Wales – our personal injury solicitors can help – home and hospital visits are also available for clients in Wiltshire, Hampshire, and Dorset for those unable to travel.

 

Accidents in Part-Time Employment

It is thought that 8.1 million people in the UK are employed on a part-time basis, partly explained by the lack of full time vacancies caused by a double-dip recession. With such a high number working on a part-time basis, it is perhaps unsurprising that there are a significant number of personal injury claims pursued by part-time employees each year.

We often find that part-time workers are particularly apprehensive about bringing a personal injury claim. It is therefore important to dispel two main myths about claiming compensation against your employer as a part-time worker.

1. As a part-time worker, I don’t have the same rights as full-timers

This is simply not the case. If you sustain an injury in the workplace and it was not your fault, you have the same entitlements to a compensation claim as a full-time worker.

If you are negligently injured in part-time employment, your employer will have an insurance policy which accounts for you. The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act of 1969 made it compulsory for employers to hold Employers’ Liability Insurance. These insurance policies must cover every worker at the establishment, irrespective of their employment status. Therefore, if you are eligible to make a claim, your employer will have adequate protection from their insurers to cover the cost.

2. If I bring a claim against my employer, I’ll be sacked

Laws are in place to ensure that employers cannot sack you simply because you have made a compensation claim against them. In fact, employers can be very supportive throughout your claim Larger employers are often very used to the claims process and are committed to ensuring the welfare of their employees. After all, they pay their insurance premiums, so they may as well use the policy.

Part-Time Employment Injury Claim?

If you would like to discuss making a possible injury claim against a part-time employer, our personal injury solicitors can offer expert advice and a friendly service. Why not call  or email us today?

Threshold for Small Claims Set to Increase in Plans to Cut Whiplash Claims

Earlier this week, Chris Grayling, the coalition Justice Secretary, opened a four-month consultation aimed at bringing down the number of whiplash claims brought in England and Wales.

In recent years, the road traffic accident (RTA) claims system has been bogged down with fraudulent or exaggerated injury claims which have cost road users money. According to insurance industry experts, bogus whiplash compensation claims cost insurance companies £2bn every year and this is reflected in the soaring premiums paid by motorists.

By increasing the limit for small claims from £1000 to £5000, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) hopes to reduce the number of unwelcome claims and also reduce the role of injury solicitors to more serious claims.

Mr Grayling admitted that in doing so, some would-be claimants will find it difficult to achieve justice becoming unable to contest unreasonable insurance offers or claim the deserved compensation payouts. However, he insisted that the proposals will cut down on the “abuse” of the system. You can almost hear the cheers from our insurance companies at hearing that claimants, in small claims up to £5k will be without legal advice of their own – in contrast to the insurance companies, who will turn up with specialist compensation claim solicitors – hardly a level playing field.

As it stands, claimants whiplash cases are either diagnosed by their family doctor or an expert recommended by their solicitor. These medical experts receive a £195 fee and according to the MoJ this gives too many people special interests in pursuing whiplash claims.

As systems of accreditations or private contractors to assess whiplash claims will therefore be discussed doing the consultation as the MoJ seeks to ensure that only genuine cases receive damages.

The consultation will also consider increasing the limit for all small RTA personal injury claims to £5000 which would include whiplash claims, rather than increasing the limit for whiplash claims alone to £5000.

Interestingly, two previous consultations in 2007 and 2009 found that increasing the small claims limit was not necessary. However, the MoJ believes that claims can be dealt with more straightforwardly using the small claims track, meaning that cases requiring personal injury solicitors will only be those paying out over £5000.

When the consultation closes in March, its proposals look likely to be followed by changes to the RTA electronic portal making it more difficult to pursue small claims using the portal, but easier to pursue claims up to £25,000

The Facts About Construction Accidents

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggested that 2585 major injuries were suffered by employees in the construction industry in 2009/10. With 225,000 construction professionals working in 24,000 different firms in high risk environments, construction has one of the highest accident rates of all industries in the UK. Moreover, the HSE estimates that in reality, the number of accidents in the construction industry is close to 30,000 each year.

Thankfully though, the number of work-related fatalities in the construction industry was 47% lower in 2008/09 compared with 1999/00, and the number of major injuries over the same period fell by 36%. Nevertheless, the figures are still alarming and the number of avoidable injuries suffered by construction workers gives cause for concern.

Many accidents in construction are attributed to the malfunctioning and deterioration of equipment and machinery. Too often this is caused by poor maintenance of irregular servicing of the equipment and this poses serious risks to the safety of construction workers.

Many workers are unaware that may ask their supervisors for regular breaks when operating heavy machinery and that they are entitled to ask that any faulty equipment be replaced in order to avoid injury. Such safety regulations are overseen by the Government’s Health and Safety Commission, and enforced by the HSE. They are designed to protect workers against many possible accidents, including scaffolding accidents, falls, vehicle accidents and those caused by faulty tools or machinery.

Your physical and financial well being could be greatly affected by a personal injury arising from a construction accident. Therefore, should you be so unfortunate, we advise that you collect evidence about exactly what happened, gather the contact details of witnesses, seek any medical treatment necessary, and then seek the legal advice of an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. That’s where we can help.

Our personal injury solicitors offer free phone advice and free first interviews.

What’s more, our team specialise in work accidents – so if you think you have grounds for a construction accident personal injury claim, call or email one of our personal injury specialists today.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – An Occupational Hazard?

Could typing be damaging your health? The National Centre for Biotechnology Information suggests that it could be, with the repetitive action of typing identified as a major cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). When the median nerve which controls feeling and mobility in the wrist is compressed, it can result in numbness, tingling or pain in the hands – this is known as CTS. The condition can be very difficult to live with, also causing weakness in the thumbs, a loss of grip and dull aching in the arms.

The link between CTS and typing is not accepted by all scientists or medical professionals. CTS has various causes including obesity, trauma, awkward sleeping positions, pregnancy and diabetes and it can therefore be difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of the condition. However, there is significant evidence to support the idea that repetitive actions contribute to CTS and it is now held that vibration can be a major cause of the condition as well.

CTS is now legally held to be an industrial disease and sufferers who believe that they developed the condition due to repetitive tasks at work may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim through the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. Therefore, office workers, construction workers using pneumatic drills and other professionals using heavy machinery could all be entitled to make a claim.

CTS can be treated and only requires surgery in a small percentage of cases. It is highly likely that doctors will first attempt to relieve pressure on the median nerve using either a wrist splint, cortisone injections, or by prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the swelling. Sufferers of the condition will undoubtedly incur costs, through medical expenses, travel to and from appointments, not to mention loss of earnings now and most importantly in the future.

Our personal injury solicitors are industrial disease specialists and strongly advise you to get expert legal advice to find out whether or not you may be entitled to make a compensation claim. We represent clients both locally throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset – and nationwide online. Why not email us or call us today for free initial advice and a free first consultation with one of our team.