If a cleaner injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Cleaning work is hazardous due to exposure to chemicals, slips and falls, and repetitive motion.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an injury or illness at work, 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
You are not alone
Injuries sustained by cleaners are commonplace according to the HSE, with slips and trips, manual handling and falls from height leading to back injuries, occupational dermatitis and other injuries.
Cleaners can be exposed to hazardous cleaning chemicals in the course of their work. A wide range of work accidents can also injure cleaners as they must navigate steps, stairs and furniture while carrying and using vacuum cleaners and other bulky cleaning equipment.
Working to tight schedules and in poorly-maintained buildings, as cleaners are often required to do, may also increase the likelihood of accident and injury.
Anyone working as a cleaner who is injured as a result of their working conditions may be eligible to claim compensation.
Am I eligible for cleaner injury compensation?
You will be able to claim compensation if you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
Claiming when you're partially at fault
Personal injury claims often involve circumstances where there is some degree of blame on each side.
We found that, in our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers were unsure as to which party was legally liable for their injuries.
Your claim could still be possible if your actions contributed to your injury or illness. If you were injured on the job by a co-worker's actions, you can still claim compensation from your employer, based on the principle of vicarious liability.
How long do I have to make a cleaner injury claim?
In most cases, you have up to 3 years from the date of your accident or injury to start a claim.
If you were injured due to someone else's negligence but didn't realise it at the time, you may have longer to make a claim. Typically, you have three years from the date you either received a diagnosis or became aware of the negligence (known as the 'date of knowledge') to start your claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a cleaning 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.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
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 is compensation awarded to cover any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your cleaner injury or negligent medical treatment. These damages aim to put you back in the financial position you would have been in, had your injury not occurred.
Special damages will also cover your medical treatment expenses, that might include pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy.
Cleaning products and chemicals
Cleaning products contain chemicals that may be hazardous if inhaled, ingested or splashed on the skin. Injuries such as chemical burns, allergic reactions and contact dermatitis are relatively common among workers who regularly use cleaning products. Acute or long-term exposure to harmful chemicals can also induce chronic respiratory problems such as asthma.
Under The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations employers have a duty to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. If this is not possible, then the employer must train the employee on the safe use of the chemical and provide personal protective equipment such as goggles, overalls and gloves.
Failure to provide suitable protective equipment may be evidence of an employer's negligence.
Manual handling injuries
"Manual handling" describes the pushing, pulling, lifting and carrying of items. Cleaners regularly move vacuum cleaners, floor polishers and furniture in the performance of their duties, all of which are types of manual handling activity.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 are designed to protect employees from injuries caused by manual handling at work.
Employers must eliminate any non-essential manual handling activities and take reasonable steps to make the remaining tasks as safe as possible. This includes training staff on how to lift and carry safely.
Exposure to asbestos
Working in older buildings may expose cleaners to asbestos. When lagging and asbestos-containing insulation materials become damaged they tend to create a dust that cleaners may inhale when sweeping up.
The health conditions associated with asbestos may take many years to develop. Provided that the illness can be shown to have been caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, compensation is likely to be available.
Claims for historic exposure may be brought against a former employer, even if the employer has gone out of business. These usually will be paid out by the employer's insurance company (at the time of the accident). Your solicitor will be able to identify the relevant insurer.
Lacerations and needlestick injuries
Broken glass, scalpels and syringes are capable of causing cuts and needlestick injuries if they are negligently disposed into ordinary waste bins instead of special "sharps" bins. Cleaners are also at risk of needlestick injury whilst cleaning public areas such as public toilets, parks and stairwells where syringes have been discarded.
Employers must provide cleaners with heavy duty, cut-resistant gloves to minimise the risk of injury. They must also ensure that machinery with blades, rotating parts and motors is maintained in good condition and training is given on the proper use of the equipment.
Employers who fail to observe these health and safety standards could be held liable under a range of legislation for failing to protect an employee from avoidable harm.
Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022
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 workers, including workers who are self-employed or 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 when working as a cleaner and your employer failed to provide you with suitable PPE, you may be entitled to claim compensation - even if you are self-employed.
Employers' liability claims claims
Work accident claims are also known as employers' liability claims. Click on the icons below for more information:
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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Handled with the utmost professionalism... extremely kind, courteous and empathetic.
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.