A guide to making a No Win No Fee health and safety breach claim
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2013/14 approximately 1.2 million people were suffering from a work-related illness or injury. In a large majority of these cases, the cause is an accident, or insufficient working conditions, which resulted from a breach of health and safety.
As all employers are legally bound to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace - as stipulated, primarily, in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 - if they are negligent in doing so, a compensation claim could be brought against them.
What are the legal obligations of employers?
A wide range of legislation is in place to guide employers in ensuring that they are providing safe and healthy working conditions for their employees. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was also set up to help regulate and enforce it, which includes offering practical information on implementation.
Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
The basis of British health and safety law, this act has a number of clear provisions for ensuring workplace safety. These require employers, as far as is ?reasonably practical' to:
- Carry out full and ongoing risk assessments of work roles and the work environment
- Implement adequate preventative measures and controls to avoid or minimise risk - including providing suitable personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Appoint competent persons to help with implementation and ongoing inspections
- Provide clear and regular instruction and training to employees on the risks and control measures
- Set up emergency and accident reporting procedures
- Work together with other employers sharing the same workplace
In addition, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 helps guide how this is applied.
Other more specific legislation aimed at ensuring health and safety at work includes: Noise at Work Regulations 1989; Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH); The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994; The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations 1992; Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998; The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.
With the legal framework and practical information available to employers, there is no reason why breaches of health and safety should occur. So, any injury received or ill health suffered should be reported and changes made. And, importantly, any person affected is encouraged to make a claim.
What types of injury/illness can occur from health and safety breaches?
Health and safety breach claims encompass a wide reaching range of illness and injury. Essentially, they include any possible accident or illness that could occur across all industries.
According to a recent report by the HSE, the most frequent causes of workplace injury are manual handling and slips, trips and falls from height. Of all workplace injuries occurring, manual occupations have the highest rates, with sewerage and waste supply, agriculture, construction and transport being the most likely industries to sustain them.
In the same report, the HSE categorised the most common types of work related health conditions as:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Skin disease
They also identified long latency conditions which can be caused by previous work activity and often appear years after exposure. These are:
- Asbestos related disease
- Work related hearing loss
- Cancers Vibration-related disease
- Other respiratory disease
For each condition, there are higher reported cases amongst certain industries or work environments. For example, work related musculoskeletal disorders are common in construction and healthcare, whilst respiratory diseases are more likely amongst those who work with certain fumes, gases and dusts.
Skin diseases occur more often in people working as florists, hairdressers or cooks, whereas cancers come most often from construction, shift work or exposure to mineral oils, solar radiation or silica.
Safety breaches could be relatively minor, such as not regularly mopping wet floors or the providing the correct type of gloves. They can also be more serious, for example failing to erect scaffolding correctly or to carry-out correct training for a large piece of machinery with dangerous moving parts. But no matter the perceived size of the safety breach, the implications for an individual who suffers an injury or illness as a result of it can be huge.
Proving liability for a successful claim
If an individual has been injured or made sick at work, they must be able to prove first that the employer did make a breach of health and safety - that they were negligent - and second, that the breach of safety directly contributed to the illness/injury.
To do this, relevant information would need to be gathered as evidence such as: medical reports citing symptoms, treatment and prognosis; accident book reports; company health and safety information; witnesses to any accident or identified procedure or lack of; and photographs. A solicitor can help advise on what exactly is required for each individual case.
As complaints can be so vastly different - from headaches and hearing loss to muscle pain, broken bones and long-term illnesses - as well as varying greatly in the effect they have on a person's life, so too does the amount of compensation fluctuate depending on the case.
No Win, No Fee health and safety breach claims explained
A No Win, No Fee agreement, also known as a CFA or "Conditional Fee Agreement", is the start of a claim for injury compensation.
The CFA sets out the service the lawyer provides and a percentage-based "success fee" that will be taken from the award if they win your case.
There will be absolutely no hidden costs when using a Quittance solicitor. You are able to focus on your recovery, knowing that you will never be out of pocket.
How to proceed
Making the right decision depends on the right information. Get any questions answered before you choose a solicitor.
Get answers to popular questions asked by people looking for claims advice on our FAQ page.
Compare personal injury solicitors
Most injury lawyers covering health and safety breach will take your business on a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee) basis. But how much will they charge you if a compensation settlement is reached? Why not compare personal injury solicitor quotes here for more information on how much more you could receive with our panel of solicitors when compared with most other personal injury lawyers .
When you have chosen to proceed, you can start your injury claim by phoning 0800 612 7456 or through our online contact form.
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