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Top 5 Work Injury and Illness Claims
5 July 2019
Workplace injuries and illnesses are extremely common in the UK. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) states that in 2017/2018 a staggering 1.4 million people suffered from a work-related illness, 147 employees were killed at work (2018/2019), and 71,062 injuries to workers were reported under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). An estimated £15 billion is the cost of injuries and ill health from working conditions (2016/17).
Personal injury specialists TRUE Solicitors LLP have complied a list of the top 5 work injury and illness claims, and what employers can do keep their staff safe at work:
1. Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls are the most common of all workplace injury claims. Slips, trips and falls can occur in any workplace from construction sites to offices. They can result in serious head and brain injuries, spinal injuries, fractures, soft tissue injuries and cuts and lacerations.
Slips, trips and falls are typically caused by:
- Wet or oily surfaces
- Inclement weather
- Poor lighting
- Trailing cables and unexpected obstacles
- Damaged flooring or stairs
Employers should implement the appropriate health and safety measures to prevent slips, trips and fall accidents in the workplace by:
- Maintaining good housekeeping i.e. ensure surfaces are clean, free from obstacles and spillages are cleaned up and warning signs are displayed.
- Adopt an appropriate footwear policy to prevent accidents caused through staff wearing backless, open toed or high heeled shoes.
- Carrying out a risk assessment for all possible hazards.
2. Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) can affect anyone who carries out repetitive manual tasks at work. It is caused due to a gradual build-up of damage to muscles, tendons and nerves through repetitive movement. Office workers and supermarket checkout staff are particularly at risk of developing RSI. RSI commonly affects the wrists, hands and elbow, along with the neck and shoulders.
Common causes of RSI injuries include:
- Carrying out repetitive continuous movements such as typing, working on an assembly line or supermarket checkout.
- Not taking regular breaks from repetitive tasks.
- Poor ergonomic working conditions.
In order to avoid employees suffering from repetitive strain injuries employers should:
- Provide ergonomic equipment such as ergonomic keyboards, chairs and mice. Chairs and computer monitors should be adjusted to the appropriate height for the employee.
- Factor in regular breaks for employees with jobs that involve a high level of repetitive movements.
3. Burns and Lacerations
Burns and laceration injuries commonly affect those who work with high heat, chemicals, electrical equipment or with heavy machinery.
Common causes of burn injuries include:
- Exposure to corrosive chemicals
- Handling hot liquids or exposure to hot surfaces without proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Contact with exposed electrical wires.
Common causes of laceration injuries include:
- When the body comes into contact with a blade or moving machinery part.
- Slips, trips and falls.
To help mitigate the risks of burns and laceration injuries employers should:
- Carry out regular risk assessments
- Conduct regular health and safety training
- Ensure all machinery and equipment meets health and safety standard, is maintained and staff are trained how to use it safely and properly.
4. Toxic Fume Inhalation & Exposure
Employees who work with harmful chemicals, past and present, are at risk of developing respiratory diseases caused through toxic fume inhalation. They are also at risk of developing skin conditions such as dermatitis.
Common causes of toxic fume inhalation include:
- Lack of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Spillages of toxic chemicals
- Undetected gas leaks from damaged machinery.
Employers should adopt the following health and safety measures to protect staff from toxic fume inhalation and exposure:
- Ensure that employee exposure to hazardous substances is controlled and safe by following the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
- Ensure that appropriate PPE is provided and worn by staff working with hazardous substances.
Manual Handling Injuries
Injuries caused through manual handling are extremely common in the workplace. Manual handling injuries can occur when employees are required to lift, carry, lower, push or pull heavy objects. If employees haven’t been properly trained to safely move items then the likelihood of injury is high.
Common manual handling injuries result due to:
- Employees adapting awkward postures to lift, carry or drag, heavy or awkward shaped objects.
- Repetitive movement of arms, legs and back, leading to an injury or making an existing injury worse.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992) sets out the rules that employers must adhere to, in order to protect the well being of their staff if their job involves manual handling. Your employer should:
- Carry out a risk assessment.
- Implement any measures that can aid in the heavy lifting such as using pallet trucks, hoists or conveyors.
- Conduct health and safety training to show employees the safe way to conduct the task.
Can I make a work accident claim?
If you’ve experienced injuries or illness due to an accident at work, within the last 3 years, you could be entitled to claim compensation. TRUE Solicitors team of expert personal injury lawyers will handle your case on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis, fighting to recoup your loss of earnings, medical expenses and care costs to help you get your life back on track.