If a building site injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Building sites are inherently hazardous environments. Injuries sustained from inadequate safety measures or accidents may entitle workers to claim compensation for their physical and financial recovery.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a building site accident, we can help. If your injuries were caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a work accident compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
With 50,000 workers injured on building sites every year, you are not alone
Building sites are inherently dangerous places to work, with the construction sector accounting for a disproportionately high number of workers who sustain serious injuries in the course of their work.
53,000 workers are injured every year when working on a building site, averaged over a three-year period (hse.gov.uk).
You may be able to claim compensation if you sustained an injury on a building site due to someone else's negligence.
If you decide to make a building site injury claim, your work accident solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you need to move forward.
Do I qualify for building site injury compensation?
If you've been injured or made ill in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, then you will be entitled to claim compensation for building site injury.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
What happens if I share some of the blame?
Figuring out who is legally at fault for an accident can sometimes be complex and nuanced.
According to our recent 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers thought that their actions could have contributed, either in part or wholly, to their injuries.
If you believe you were partly responsible, you may still have a claim. If you were injured at work, you can claim compensation from your employer under the principle of vicarious liability - even if you or another employee caused the accident.
How much compensation can I claim for a building site injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Building site injury
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of income, including future loss of income, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as diagnostic imaging tests, surgical intervention and pain management.
Psychological trauma following work accidents
Are you concerned about the mental and emotional impact of your injury? You are not alone.
Our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey reveals the extent of psychological trauma, with 25.03% of claims involving a psychological injury, 62.38% of which related to a physical injury.
Phobias associated with heavy machinery, falls from height and falling objects can be triggered by traumatic building site accidents. Even more minor injuries can trigger PTSD.
Some workers remain hesitant to seek help for potential psychological injuries, fearing that their concerns will be dismissed or they will be treated differently.
Factoring compensation for psychological harm will ensure you receive mental health support and other therapies that may not be readily available on the NHS in your area.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Health and Safety legislation
A strict legislative framework governs health and safety on building sites. This includes the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, which covers both the design and operation of construction sites.
The HSE is responsible for overseeing and enforcing workplace safety regulation. The duties of HSE officers include:
- Conducting site inspections;
- Issuing guidance to construction site operators; and
- Bringing prosecutions against those who breach workplace safety regulations*
The HSE does not, however, bring or handle claims for compensation made by persons injured on a building site.
*Except in Scotland, where the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is responsible for bringing prosecutions.
Typical building site accidents
Workers on construction sites are at risk from sustaining injury from a variety of causes, including:
- Falls from scaffolding or ladders;
- Falling down a hole or shaft or falling on uneven or dangerous ground;
- Being struck by falling objects, such as tools or masonry;
- Faulty or defective machinery;
- Lifting and handling heavy or awkward loads; and
- Being struck by a vehicle.
In 2013/14, falls from height were responsible for over 30% of the most serious injuries (including fatal injuries) to construction workers. The most common overall causes of injuries on a construction site are, however, lifting and handling accidents.
The variety of hazards present on a building site can give rise to a large number of different types of injury, including:
Building site contractor injury claims
Although there have been significant reductions in the numbers and rates of injury over the last 20 years, with over 50 workers a week having sustained a serious injury on a building site in 2019/120, construction remains a high risk industry.
But with 40% of the workforce self-employed, a mix of contractors, sub-contractors, self-employed workers, independent contractors, agency workers and casual labourers may be at work on a building site.
If you have been injured working as a contractor on a building site, due to another party's negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. Your solicitor will work out who is legally responsible for your injury.
What should I do if I have an accident working as a contractor?
Any contractor, sub-contractor, self-employed or a worker involved in an accident on a building site should:
- Report the accident to his employers or principal contractor and complete the site health and safety procedure (accident book)
- Make notes as soon as practicable about the accident, photograph the accident scene and injuries sustained if possible.
- Take names and contact details of any witnesses.
- Seek medical advice and make notes of every aspect of that advice.
- Report the accident to the HSE or relevant authority
Who can injured building site contractors claim against?
On a building site, the employment status of the workers may affect who has responsibility for some aspects of health and safety and the provision of safety equipment. Therefore it is important to determine whether the claimant is regarded as an employee, self-employed or a contractor.
Generally when a worker sustains a workplace injury the insurance cover is provided through the mandatory Employers Liability insurance. This applies to employees, contractors, casual workers or temporary staff, but not the self-employed.
In the construction industry where employers engage independent contractors, sub-contractors or agencies who agree to provide their own insurance for themselves and their workers, there may be a chain of two or three people responsible for contracting the claimant. Each may have some liability for the claimants injuries.
Compensation is usually paid by an insurance company, not directly by the site manager or operator.
How does Health and Safety law protect site contractors?
All employers have a duty to ensure the safety of workers. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to plan, control, organise, monitor and review their work to manage health and safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Furthermore, revised legislation - Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) - came into force on 6 April 2015. CDM 2015 stipulates:
The principal contractor for every construction project must draw up a construction phase plan. He must have the skills, knowledge, experience, and where relevant, organisational capability to manage health and safety risks during the construction phase.
Contractors who carry out the actual construction work - individuals or companies - must plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so it is carried out without risks to health and safety. Where a project involves more than one contractor activities must be co-ordinated with others in the project team.
- Be consulted about matters that affect their health, safety and welfare
- Take care of their own health and safety, and of others who might be affected by their actions
- Report anything they see which is likely to endanger either their own or others health and safety
- Co-operate with their employer, fellow workers, contractors and other duty holders
Health and Safety in Construction HSG150, published by the HSE, details exactly the measures required to prevent accidents in all aspects of this hazardous industry.
Can I claim if the site operator did not provide PPE?
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force on 6 April 2022.
This legislation means that employers have an obligation to provide free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all on site workers, including contractors who are self-employed or workers on a zero-hours contract.
Under the previous 1992 regulations, employers were only required to provide PPE to employees with a formal employment contract.
If you are injured at work and you were not provided with suitable PPE, you may be entitled to claim compensation even if you are self-employed.
Injuries to building site visitors
Although most people injured on construction sites are employees or contractors of the site operator, injuries to visitors are also fairly commonplace. These can include serious or even fatal injuries. In the ten years up to and including 2013/14, 46 visitors to UK construction sites were killed in accidents.
Many of the health and safety regulations which apply to workplaces do not cover visitors. However, visitors to a workplace, including a building site, are still covered by both the common law and by legislation such as the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and, in Scotland, the Occupiers Liability (Scotland) Act 1960
What to do if you have been injured on a building site
It does not matter whether you are an employee, contractor or visitor, you may well be able to claim compensation if you were injured on a building site in an accident that was not your fault.
We can guide you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Call us on 0800 376 1001 or arrange a call back at a time that suits you.
The claims process will vary depending on how your building site injury happened. Click the icons below to learn more:
How we can help you with your work accident claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.
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About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.