The health and safety risks in injuries in shops

Like many other industry sectors the retail sector has its own very specific workplace hazards and these themselves can vary considerably depending on the type of goods being sold especially if it is a specialist store, i.e. the risk of explosion in a shop selling fireworks would not be found in a shoe shop and the risk of robbery in a jewellery store is statistically far higher than in a charity shop. The health and safety ‘bottom line’ however remains the same in all shops; to create and maintain a work environment and work processes in which the risks of injury, work-related illness and threats to the employees’ wellbeing are eliminated or adequately controlled.

The amount of work required from employers to achieve this bottom line can be considerable bearing in mind the numerous hazards and situations that might need to be considered for inclusion in a shop’s safety management plan and then if included, risk analysed and controlled. Some of the more generic ones are listed below:

• Lifting and carrying.

• Working at height (replenishing stock)

• The floor cleaning regime (that ensures that the shop floor is clean of slip causing contaminants and clear of objects that could cause trips and falls).

• Managing sharp objects.

• Use and handling of power tools and other electrical equipment.

• Shelf stacking which eliminates or reduces the risk of falling objects.

• Working with motor vehicles (unloading deliveries etc).

• Lone working.

• Hazardous products.

• Workplace noise.

• Crime (shoplifting and robbery)

• Customer aggression/violence towards staff

• Lack of personal protective equipment

If just one high risk goes unidentified and an employee or customer is injured as a result of this negligence, the injured party might well be able to make a personal injury claim. Bringing such a claim might be seen by some, with an accident having occurred and an injury having been suffered akin to bolting of the stable door after the horse has escaped, but it is nevertheless the right of the employee or shopper who has been injured to do so – and who can blame them.

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The consequences of violent assaults by customers and patients

The modern workplace has been, over the previous thirty years, shaped by the zealous application of the cost principal, with the organisation which manages to squeeze more productivity from each of its employees than its competitors winning the race to the bottom and surviving to bid for another contract another day. The human face of the cost principle is, as the media never ceases to remind us, over-remunerated upper tiers of management and an increasing impoverished, pay-frozen workforce that suffers stress levels unheard of since the appalling days of the nineteenth century’s dark, satanic mills.

If these workers also work in an employment sector which has historically experienced high levels of customer/client/patient on employee violence, such as the police, prison service or health and teaching professions, stress levels can rise to a point at which severe emotional distress can incapacitate the victim. This work related violence induced stress is present even amongst workers who haven’t themselves suffered verbal or physical aggression – it only needs to be present in the workplace to have a generally felt negative effect. For those who have actually suffered verbal or physical abuse from a customer or patient, the effect can be even more severe and when added to a possible physical injury, result in extended absences of work for legitimate recovery or because of stress related absenteeism.

For the employer, the consequences of violent assaults on its staff will usually manifest in difficulties recruiting and retaining staff as their public image becomes tarnished by association with customer on employee violence that seemingly cannot be stopped. The only exceptions to this perhaps being the police and prison service where the culture has been one of resignation to the inevitability of staff being attacked and its prevalence has been accepted as ‘part of the job’.

Violence should not, of course, be expected to be a part of anyone’s job and employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from it. Their failure to do so during the year 2010-2011 alone resulted in 314,000 employees suffering a physical assault and 313,000 having to experience threats of violence. These levels are of course unacceptable, which might become a point of view negligent employers start to come around to as levels of absenteeism, claims for compensation and their employer liability insurance premiums all begin to sky-rocket.

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Broken arm injury claims

Breaking an arm can have a serious impact on your life. Your arm may be completely immobilised for weeks and your cast may not enable you to move your wrist, shoulder or elbow, making those weeks extremely uncomfortable and frustrating. Arm fractures can be extremely serious especially if they are particularly complex. You may have crushed the bone, severed various blood vessels and nerves or had pieces of bone in shatter off. Sadly, in some cases, full movement will never return to the arm.

Coping with a broken arm injury is difficult enough as it is but it can be far more traumatic when you know that your injury was not your fault. If the negligence, legal omission or deliberate actions of another individual were to blame for your fracture, you may find that you are eligible to claim compensation. This is because if you were not to blame for the injury itself, it is unfair for to have experience pain and suffering, shoulder the costs associated with losing income through time off work and have to pay for any follow up treatment. Damages are the least you are entitled to for such hardship and they are likely to reflect the seriousness of the injuries sustained (in the form of ‘special damages’) and the financial consequences of your fracture (in the form of ‘general damages’).

Arm fractures can arise from many different circumstances such as:

• A slip or trip at work (suggesting possible employer negligence)

• A sports injury following an unnecessarily dangerous challenge (suggesting possible malice)

• Or a road traffic accident involving a driver who failed concentrate

In order to win your compensation you will need a specialist personal injury solicitor on you side. Our personal injury lawyers have vast experience dealing with broken arm compensation claims and could help you recover the full and fair amount of compensation you are entitled to. We will deal with the bureaucracy and formalities in making a claim so that you can focus on your recovery. Your solicitor will put you in touch with a medical expert who will assess your injuries and provide a report which will be central to the bundle of evidence used for your claim. Moreover, you will receive constant support throughout the claims process from your expert solicitor.

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PTSD compensation claims

Most of us are fortunate enough to go through life avoiding any trauma aside from the general stresses and strains of everyday life and the occasionally incident which is particularly stressful. However, some people are unfortunate enough to see, experience or face an experience which puts their own or somebody else’s life in jeopardy, therefore causing significant trauma. Many of these unfortunate people go on to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition with both physical and psychological effects which makes it extremely difficult to work, meet people and generally make it through the day.

Thankfully, those who are diagnosed with this debilitating disorder may be entitled to claim compensation. Such compensation should cover their pain and suffering and financial losses as a result of the disorder and can go a long way towards protecting their financial position. However, in order to win damages you will need a specialist solicitor who will be able to uncover essential evidence for your case during what is a difficult time. Indeed PTSD clients may be suffering with serious symptoms at the time of the claim.

Possible symptoms of PTSD include:

• Sleeping disorders such as insomnia

• Dramatic changes in mood

• Depression

• Problems with the muscles

• Unexplained bouts of fury

• Fear or anxiety about visiting certain places, doing certain things, seeing certain images etc.

Although these symptoms can often be eased using medication it is only with extensive psychotherapy that PTSD can be cured. Indeed, PTSD sufferers are likely to continue to be suffering during the claims process and may find it difficult to recall facts about the incident itself which is another reason why PTSD compensation claims can be so difficult to manage. However our specialist personal injury solicitors will be a constant source of support throughout the claims process. Unlike generalist solicitors with no specific expertise in PTSD compensation claims, our solicitors have ability to immerse themselves in the work of psychotherapist and psychiatrists in order to understand your condition and therefore create a convincing argument in your favour.

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For a FREE initial interview and a free first appointment with our expert Personal Injury Solicitors call FREEPHONE FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or e-mail our team at advice@the-personal-injury-solicitors.co.uk