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Workplace Accidents

12th October 2011
By Richard Godden in Legal
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A recent report revealed work accidents in Scotland in 2010 cost 187 million, despite the fact the Health and Safety Executive has strict regulations in place to prevent such events from happening. This worrying statistic shows that employers are repeatedly failing to comply with their duty of care, a statutory obligation there to protect the safety of employees.

An Employers Duty of Care.

All employers have a statutory duty of care towards their staff. This means they are legally obliged to provide a safe environment for employees to work in, taking necessary steps to reduce potential risks and guarantee a safe system of work. These responsibilities must include the following:-

1. Safe Premises.

The premises of work must adhere to health and safety regulations. This includes ensuring the building or site is structurally sound, providing sufficient ventilation, heating and lighting, as well as removing any hazardous factors (such as harmful chemicals or signalling a wet floor).

2. Safe Working System.

An employer must take measures to ensure a safe working system is implemented. This means that the work an employee carries out must be done in the safest way possible, something which can be achieved through providing the correct training, supervision and risk management.

3. Safe Equipment.

An employee must be given the correct equipment with which to perform their job with. This may include machinery, clothing or tools, which must not only be safe and suitable but also sufficiently maintained.

4. Competent Staff.

An employer is also responsible for selecting competent staff, as the inadequacy of other workers can easily lead to an accident. Thus an employer must make sure an employee has the proper skills and training to perform their role, while also considering whether or not any social problems they may have poses a risk to other staff.

Common Types of Workplace Accident.

Even though the Health Safe Executive (HSE) has put into force legislation to minimise deaths and serious injuries in the workplace, they are unfortunately still all too frequent. Some of the most common types of workplace accidents include:-

* Slipping - eg. on a wet floor;

* Tripping - eg. over a misplaced item;

* Lifting heavy objects;

* Fall from heights;

* Hazardous substances;

* Injuries involving vehicles - eg. forklift trucks;

* Incompetence of other staff;

* Unsuitable equipment.

What Action Can You Take?

If you have suffered an injury in the workplace that was not your fault, then you need to speak to a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. As long as three years have not lapsed since the accident happened, and it can be proven that liability for your injury lies with someone else, you will be able to make a claim. Should you be successful, you will be awarded compensation to recover any general damages (such as a loss of earnings) and for the pain and suffering you have experienced.


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