Employers have a duty to provide their employees with a safe place of work and safe working process. They must also comply with various regulations which set out the steps employers must take to protect the health and safety of their employees in the workplace.
If you have been injured at work as a result of lifting, carrying, moving, handling, pulling or pushing an inanimate object (such as a box, load or item of equipment) or an animate object (such as a patient in hospital or resident of a care home) you may be entitled to receive personal injury compensation.
It is part of the Co-op's ethos and values to provide help and support in enforcing legal rights so as to prevent injustice. We will always strive to secure the best possible compensation and rehabilitation support for our clients.
Lifting Accidents at Work
Employers have a duty to keep workplaces safe. They are also under a duty to comply with a set of regulations called the Manual Handling Regulations which set out the responsibilities of employers where their employees are expected to lift, move and handle objects or people as part of their job.
'Manual handling' is anything that requires an employee to lift, put down, push, pull, carry or move an object by hand or bodily force.
The Manual Handling Regulations require an employer to avoid the need for manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable. This might include finding alternatives ways to move or transport objects, such as using machinery or pulley systems. If an alternative cannot be found, then before the lifting takes place an employer must:
- Carry out a manual handling risk assessment to highlight the potential dangers an employee may face while completing the task
- Implement measures that limit these risks, such as providing training and protective equipment.
If an employer does not comply with these regulations and an employee is injured in a lifting accident, or develops an injury over time because of ongoing poor practice, there could be grounds for a work accident claim. This is because an employer has a duty to protect the health and safety of their staff, and a failure to do so will be considered negligent.
Back Injury and Manual Handling Injuries
Lifting accidents can result in all kinds of injuries, although they are most commonly associated with back injuries. These may be acute (meaning they occur as a result of a single accident) or they may be chronic (meaning they develop gradually over time, typically due to repetitive tasks).
The Health and Safety Executive reported that in 2016/17, 22% of all non-fatal workplace injuries in Great Britain were caused by manual handling or lifting, and 194,000 people suffered a work-related back injury. Employees across different industries were affected, with those in construction, transportation, agriculture, human health and social work activities especially at risk. See Back Injury Risks Caring for Patients and the Elderly.
But what the statistics don't reveal is just how devastating lifting accidents and manual handling injuries can be. Back injuries in particular can take a very long time to recover from, and can be associated with neurological damage, ongoing rehabilitation and recurring injuries.
All this can adversely affect an individual's life. Not only will he/she have to endure a degree of pain and suffering (which for some may continue in the long-run), their ability to carry out their normal day-to-day activities will also be disrupted. On top of this, the individual may no longer be able to carry out their normal work duties, which can lead to financial difficulties.
Injured in a Lifting Accident
That is why if you have been injured in a lifting accident at work, you are legally entitled to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation. This is intended to compensate for the pain and suffering you have wrongfully endured. It is also intended to recover the finances you have lost as a result if your injuries. This will be extremely important if you have lost income because of your injuries, or your ability to obtain work has been handicapped. The compensation can also cover the costs of ongoing treatment or rehabilitation support.
At Co-op Legal Services most manual handling work accident claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.
For free legal advice call our Personal Injury Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.