Night shift accident compensation claims

Updated: October 8, 2018

Introduction

Studies suggest that some work-related accidents are three times more likely to occur on the night shift.

The number of night workers in the UK has been steadily increasing over the last two decades, with around?14% of the working population (3.6 million people) now working shifts that include night work most of the time.

The shift towards a 24-hour society means that many night workers have jobs that are not traditionally associated with round-the-clock operations, such as supermarket assistants and call centre operators.

Regularly working the night shift exposes people to all sorts of risks. A number of studies have found that night shift workers are up to three times more likely than their daytime colleagues to be involved in a serious accident at work.

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Typical causes of night shift accidents

During the night, a person's heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature are decreased significantly as the body slows down in preparation for sleep. These changes are set by the body's internal sleep/wake regulator which is highly resistant to change. Most people will never fully adjust their body clock to the point where they are able to operate to their maximum potential at night.

Workers whose jobs involve night work or irregular shift patterns are known to experience several side effects, including:

  • Tiredness
  • Decreased concentration
  • Lack of judgement
  • Reduced hand-eye coordination
  • Poorer reaction time
  • Lower overall cognitive performance.

These factors place them at risk of an?accident at work. Night shift accidents are especially common in jobs that require extreme focus, such as driving or working with machinery.

Who is most at risk?

The risk of night shift accidents and injuries has been found to increase:

  • Where the shift is over eight hours in length
  • When a person works consecutive nights
  • When periods between breaks on a night shift grow longer.

In other words, poorly designed work schedules can increase the risk of a night shift accident.

Do I have a claim for a nightshift injury?

Employers must meet certain obligations for health and safety in regard to night working arrangements. The primary legislation is the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR). WTR limits the number of night-time hours that may be worked to 8 hours in each 24-hour period, averaged over 17 weeks.

WTR also gives night workers the same rights as daytime workers with regard to days off, rest periods and breaks.

However, complying with WTR may not in itself be enough to prevent tiredness and error. Employers must also comply with their general duties under the?Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the?Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to:

  • Protect the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees
  • Assess the risks to employees from work activities and take all reasonable steps to eliminate or control these risks.

This includes the number of hours worked and how these hours are scheduled.

If there is strong evidence to show a link between an employee's work schedule, their fatigue levels and the accident, then a claim for compensation may be brought against the employee.

Calculate my nightshift injury compensation

For a clearer idea of how much compensation you could recover for a night shift work accident, use Quittance personal injury compensation calculator. Unlike other online calculators, this tool will estimate what you could actually keep, after your solicitor's fees have been deducted.

To discuss your options in more detail, contact our claims team on 0800 612 7456 or request a callback.

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