Cleaners injury compensation claims

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Jonathan Speight

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee cleaners injury and illness at work claim

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 hoovers 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. Claims are likely to either be an accident at work claim against an employer, or an occupiers liability claim.

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. This includes the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

No Win, No Fee cleaner work injury compensation claims explained

No Win, No Fee compensation claims begin once an injured party agrees a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as a "CFA", with their chosen lawyer.

The Conditional Fee Agreement defines the terms and conditions between the lawyer and you.

The document explains the service executed by your solicitor and a percentage-based "success fee". This success fee is the fee that will be deducted from the compensation award once your injury lawyer wins your case.

You will be able to prioritise your rest and recovery, knowing that you will never be out of pocket. You have no hidden costs when choosing a a Quittance solicitor.

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