How common are office injuries and accidents?

The myth that offices are safe places to work takes a considerable amount of demolishing, so entrenched is it in the national psyche. However, filled with hazards ranging from unsafe office machinery, furniture and fittings to none-ergonomic work stations, unsafe floors and storage, repetitive tasks such as typing and hours of sedentary work the potential for harm to come to an office worker is far from minimal.

True, the rate of injuries and accidents is far higher is other sectors of the economy; indeed the 33 per 100,000 workers experiencing a serious injury in an office and 72 per 100,000 experiencing an injury requiring more than 3 days away from work, puts office work at the bottom of the Health and Safety Executive’s work injury incidence scale amongst the industry sectors for which there is data, but accidents and injuries in offices there most definitely are. To be precise, 1,035 serious injuries and 2,249 injuries requiring a three day plus absence from work in 2010-11 alone.

Data from the UK’s Labour Force Survey for 2010-11 strongly suggests substantial under reporting of accidents that occur in offices. The main reason for this under reporting is apparently the victims’ reluctance to blame anyone other than themselves for their accident as it occurred in an environment that everyone knows is completely safe to work in. After all, you can’t kill yourself with a paper cut and you’re not going to fracture your foot if you drop a roll of sellotape onto it. If only all office mishaps were so minor.

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Government to investigate high level of whiplash claims

The MP chairing the House of Commons transport select committee has announced that an inquiry will be launched later in the year into the high level of whiplash claims pursued in the UK every year.

Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside was speaking at the motor insurance conference held by the Association of British Insurers. The aim of the inquiry is to find ways to reduce the number dishonest whiplash claims which cause congestion in the small claims courts and contribute to high insurance premiums for road users. However, Ms Ellman added that it was crucial that interests of genuine whiplash victims were not damaged.

The announcement of the inquiry comes at a time when the personal injury sector is already set to change dramatically. Below are list of some of the reforms that the government is planning on introducing in the coming months:

• The loss of legal aid for some cases as a result of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act

• A 58% cut in fixed recoverable costs for cases of low value from the start of April

• Raising the small claims limit for your injury claim from £1000 to £5000

Questions have been asked of the insurance industry as to why whiplash claims have not been more closely scrutinised and why premiums have remained so high. Indeed, John O’Roarke who is the MD of LV+ has stressed that a reduction in fixed costs is only likely to lead to a 3% fall in insurance premiums. Mr O’Roarke claimed that premiums have already fallen by 12% meaning that it will be difficult to find further savings, however consumers have not necessarily felt these price decreases.

It is believed that insurance premiums could fall y 15% if dishonest whiplash claims could be prevented. Indeed, claims which are false or exaggerated account for 50% of all whiplash claims.

Don’t delay making your personal injury claim for whiplash – call our specialists today

Whiplash can cause serious pain and lead to time off work and lost earnings. As a result, it is crucial that you claim injury compensation for whiplash injuries and our specialists can help you win the damages you deserve. Act quickly though – strict time limits apply to whiplash injury claims.

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    The consequences of construction accidents

    The obvious and most negative consequence of construction accidents is of course the sometimes terrible injuries that workers suffer. Multiple fractures of major bones, brain injuries, extensive burns, permanently damaged hearts due to electrocution, extensive damage to internal organs as a result of crushing injuries and nerve damage from conditions such as vibration white finger are amongst a list of injuries too varied and long to include here and which are all unfortunately still far from uncommon in the construction industry. Inevitably and tragically some of these injuries can prove fatal; in fact construction accidents accounted for a staggering 28% of all workplace deaths in the UK during the year 2011-2012.

    If there can be a positive aspect to the grim statistics detailing death and injury from construction accidents, it is that each fatality and injury serves to highlight, in many cases, the negligence of employers in failing to comply with their legal duty to provide a safe workplace and ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. From these instances of negligence hard lessons can be learnt and the deterrent factor of ever increasing insurance costs and tarnished company reputations in the wake of unsuccessfully defended work injury compensation claims, weighed by construction companies against the morally unjustifiable benefits to be gained by skimping on health and safety in order to be able to undercut rival bids for construction projects or simply sinking back into a comfort zone of paying lip service to health and safety.

    On the evidence of the Health and Safety Executive’s data on accidents in the construction industry over the last couple of decades, lessons are indeed being learnt and the gradual reduction in deaths and serious injuries since the 1990s seems to reflect a more positive and pro-active approach to health and safety amongst companies working in the sector. However the numbers are still high compared to other sectors and whilst they remain so, the previously engrained misconception within the construction industry that the toll in human life and health is an inevitable and unavoidable consequence of the type of work being undertaken will stubbornly persist.

    Only increasingly proficient project planning, the elevation of health and safety above a merely paper exercise and the will to expunge the pockets of bad practice historically found in areas such as staff recruitment and training, workplace safety, personal protective equipment and the culture of long hours and bonus inducements, will continue the downwards trend in workplace fatality and injury rates.

    Contact our Construction Injury Claim Specialists now

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    Common causes of accidents and injury in warehouses

    Over recent decades, in order to become more efficient, warehouses have generally become larger which has generated the requirement for processes become increasingly automated and mechanised. The results of these changes have resulted in workplaces in which many more vehicles and equipment, than was formerly the case, have to be safely accommodated alongside the employees who themselves often have to manually move roll cages and pallets to tighter timescales than ever before. It can be a stressful environment to work in, often noisy and sometimes, unfortunately, more dangerous than it should be.

    By far the most common major accidents in warehouses in the UK since the turn of the century have been slips and trips, accounting for 26% of all injuries. A truly astonishing 45% of all injuries sustained in course of warehouse work that necessitated workers taking three or more days off work were caused by manual handling accidents. Trailing in the statistical wake of those two work accident types are:

    • Falls from height.

    • Being hit by a moving or falling object.

    • Being struck by a vehicle.

    • Impact with a stationery or fixed object.

    • Other kinds of accident.

    The main causes of these accidents fall under two main headings:

    1) Environmental

    2) Work processes

    Environmental factors include:

    • An insufficiently clean workplace.

    • Poorly maintained systems, devices and equipment.

    • Inadequate lighting.

    • Poor floor surface, due to presence of contaminants or inadequate maintainance, inappropriate covering, slopes, ramps and holes.

    • Accumulations of waste.

    • Staircases without handrails (one or two).

    • Insufficient space for employees to work.

    • Temperature too hot or cold.

    • Poorly designed warehouse floor plan.

    • Vehicles not separated from pedestrians.

    • Vehicle movement, not controlled when operating in an environment with pedestrians.

    Work processes factors include:

    • Inadequate job and health and safety training for employees.

    • Managers/supervisors not challenging unsafe behaviour by employees.

    • Jobs that require repetitive heavy lifting or the application of excessive physical force.

    • Absence of personal protective equipment or a lack of training on how to use it.

    • Inadequate communication with non-employees (visiting lorry drivers, members of the public) regarding site health and safety rules.

    • Lack of lifting and carrying equipment to enable manual handling to be avoided.

    • Overstocking causing packs to fall off shelves.

    • Poorly designed shift rotas leading to employee fatigue.

    • Insufficient training on the movement and storage of hazardous substances, leading to mishandling that causes hazardous contents to be accidentally released from their packs.

    The list is almost endless. The factors are all addressable and indeed, under the current and extensive UK workplace health and safety legislation it is the legal duty of employers to maintain their workplaces in safe and good order and as far as is reasonably practicable ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work  – or risk the chance of a personal injury compensation claim.

    For further advice, contact one of our specialist work accident team now

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    The health and safety risks in asbestos related disease at work

    Asbestos is a killer and for many decades during the twentieth century the effects of its lethal fibres, in the form of a fine airborne dust, rampaged virtually unchecked through the ranks of workers in the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors devastating their respiratory systems and causing painful disability and premature death. Fortunately, in the UK at least, such exposure should no longer occur, though the latent effects of workplace exposure during the last century continue to manifest in the ever increasing diagnosis rate of asbestos related diseases. Indeed asbestos is now the biggest single cause of workplace-related death in the UK.

    Asbestos – the change in the law

    It’s no longer legal to extract or use asbestos and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and 2012 effectively regulates its demolition/removal, transportation and disposal. Those regulations and the seemingly never ending expanse of health and safety legislation puts employers under a legal duty to take all reasonably practicable measures to ensure the health and safety of their employees. With regard to asbestos, employers are legally obliged to provide training on asbestos awareness and working with material. Asbestos exposure is also reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

    Legally, we appear to have every aspect of controlling exposure to asbestos covered, but from a practical point of view, at the ‘coalface’, the need for vigilance and the provision of comprehensive training remain crucial to ensuring that the latest generation of workers doesn’t have to endure what some of their parents and grandparent did and are still doing. For asbestos has not gone away and the legacy of an era that enthusiastically embraced the highly desirable properties of asbestos containing materials (even after the adverse health effects of asbestos dust exposure were recognised), lurk in many buildings constructed prior the turn of the 21st century.

    Asbestos – the risks

    Theoretically there is no safe minimum exposure level and one asbestos fibre might be all that it takes to trigger the process that will lead to the onset of disease. In fact, medical research points to much higher levels of exposure over a prolonged period being required to bring about the onset of such crippling conditions as asbestosis, pleural thickening and mesothelioma – but the same research reveals that different people react to different levels of exposure in different ways. Thus, the burden of managing this hazard, on every business that might encounter legacy asbestos in carrying out their work, will remain high until the material has been eradicated from our environment.

    Call our Asbestos Claim Solicitors

    So, if you feel you may have been a victim of an asbestos related disease at work, call our solicitors today. Every personal injury claim is different, but our Asbestos Claim Solicitors can give you a better idea of what compensation you could receive if your compensation claim is successful, as well as answering any questions you may have about the claims process.

    To start your personal injury compensation claim, all it takes is a few minutes of your time. Just email us on or call us now on FREEPHONE FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 – we can then discuss with you the details of your claim and explain what will happen next.

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    Can I claim compensation for an injury involving working with horses?

    If your personal injury was the result of an accident for which you weren’t to blame, you are on well on your way to being able to make a claim for compensation. If, additionally, your accident occurred because your employer failed to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable your health, safety and welfare at the riding establishment or livery stables where you work, it will probably only take a short time for a specialist personal injury claims solicitor to determine the connection between your accident and your employer’s failure to discharge her legal duty of care to you. If that connection is there then your claim can usually go ahead.

    Although equine businesses are sometimes not structured like ‘normal’ workplaces and are often run by families and friends and have employees carrying out similar tasks to those family, friends or the customers paying to hire horses or livery their horses, the owner or employer has a duty of care to all of them, employees and non-employees alike. You do not therefore need to have been an employee when you suffered your injury to be able to make your claim although the duty of care to an employee entails a greater extent of responsibilities than does the duty of care to a non-employee. In the former instance health, safety and welfare of individuals have to be taken into account, in the latter only the health and safety of non-employees. Usually, in the case of a workplace accident and claim for compensation this differentiation will have no bearing on the validity of the claim.

    A straight forward example of an employer’s failure to discharge their duty of care towards an employee in their stables would have been to neglect to warn that employee that horses are unpredictable and nervous animals who possess a dangerously powerful and long reaching kick and as a result of that lack of training, the employee sustained a serious injury due to being kicked. Another straightforward example of an employer’s failure to discharge their duty of care would be a failure to supply adequate protective equipment, such as a hard hat and body protector to an employee expected to exercise horses by riding them and due to the lack of equipment that employee sustained a serious head injury when she/he fell from their horse.

    Making an Equine Injury Claim

    If you would like our expert Personal Injury Solicitors on your side, just email us on or call us on FREEPHONE FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 today and we will contact you very soon.

    Cut out lawyers and save £1.5bn says insurer

    A major insurer has claimed that £1.5bn could be saved from insurance premiums each year if personal injury lawyers were to be bypassed following road accident claims.

    A study by Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, found that each motorist could save around £60 on their car insurance premiums if they were to go directly to the insurance company of the blameworthy driver rather than their lawyer to handle their claim. Soon after the study’s report was published, the Law Society responded by denouncing the claims as ridiculous.

    The report was released as part of the government’s talks over increasing the small claims limits, a proposal which is popular with insurers but unpopular with personal injury solicitors who feel it will prevent access to justice for many motorists. Aviva claims that the high cost involved in the claims process have forced insurance companies to significantly raise premiums over the last 5 years meaning that an increase in the small claims limit is crucial.

    Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has already entertained a £4,000 hike in the small claims limit from £1,000 and has announced that further increases may be supported. This is in addition to plans to ban referral fees, a practice which Aviva has itself admitted to engaging in recently.

    Aviva’s report reflects a blatant attempt from an insurance company to maximise their profit and minimise what they pay to crash victims. ‘Sound business’ you one may say but lacking in moral fibre nonetheless. How approaching the insurance company of the driver who has injured you is supposed to save you money, we will never know. What you need following a road traffic accident is independent legal advice and it is frankly irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

    Call now to receive the expert compensation claim advice you need following your road accident

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    Continued failure to wear seatbelts resulting in serious injuries

    It is three decades since legislation was introduced to make it illegal to drive on Britain’s roads without wearing a seatbelt. Countless lives are thought to have been saved as a result of that 1983 law but there are still far too many instances of people being seriously injured or killed road traffic accidents because they were not wearing seatbelts. Aside from the obvious human impact of these accidents, the continued failure to wear seatbelts has significant effects upon the insurance industry and the compensation payable in road traffic accident claims.

    Research from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents found that nearly 2 in 3 road casualties included those in cars. Of nearly 135,000 injuries or deaths on UK roads in 2010, drivers accounted for around 90,000. As a result, it is clearly crucial that car drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, however over 200 deaths each year are still attributable to failures to wear seatbelts (according to the Department for Transport).

    Over 95% of front seat car occupants and nearly 90% of rear seat passengers wear seatbelts but these figures are still not high enough and preventable deaths are still occurring. 2 in 10 motorists admit to knowing someone who doesn’t wear a seatbelt and 14% own up to not belting up regularly.

    Many believe that young people are to blame for the statistics but this is not necessarily the case. Whilst it is true that young people have the most accidents and are the most likely not to wear seatbelts, 11% of over 55s also fail to wear seatbelts.

    A 1991 law made rear seatbelt wearing compulsory as well and very few people are permitted not to belt up today. Exemptions are sometimes granted on for health reasons but even then documentation must be kept in the car to prove it.

    Get in touch for advice from road traffic accident personal injury claims specialists

    Road traffic accidents often have devastating consequences and if you were hurt in an accident which was not your fault, it is only fair that you awarded injury compensation. Our expert personal injury solicitors can help you with your road traffic injury claim, so:

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      Intriguing statistics relating to reform of personal injury compensation claims

      Many people in the media and the government today bemoan the growth of a “culture of compensation”. The notion that public finances are somehow drained by individuals claiming the compensation they deserve is bandied about at will but do the facts support this? It would appear not as two recently released sets of data demonstrate.

      The first lot of statistics regard road traffic accident personal injury claims. It has been found that the amount that motorists in the UK pay on parking each year is four times the cost incurred by the entire insurance industry when dealing with personal injury compensation claims. Whilst the insurance industry only pays out £2bn each year, the public using Britain’s roads pay a shocking £8bn just to park. So all things considered, compensation claims are a minor expense.

      The government has also been complaining about the legal fees of personal injury solicitors in compensation claims and seems to think that by dramatically cutting these, there will be more money in the public coffers. Under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) the government will slash such fees in the expectation that up to £400m will be saved. They appear to have made some basic accountancy errors though. By cutting solicitors fees on compensation claim, the government will lose £200m in VAT revenue as well. This money will have to be made up somewhere, but where? Tax increases? Further cuts to public services? It is unlikely that the public would react well to such changes, so perhaps the government needs to reconsider its priorities.