12 October 2016
Frequently Asked Questions After an Accident at Work
Supermarket giant Tesco was recently fined £500,000 after a worker fell 30ft through a skylight roof at one of its stores.
The victim, our client, miraculously did not break any bones, but he suffered cuts and bruises along with further muscle damage and required weeks off work for recovery and physiotherapy.
His employer, Tesco Maintenance, which is a separate offshoot company from Tesco Stores, was fined £300,000 after pleading guilty to two health and safety breaches involving failing to ensure safety. Tesco Stores Ltd was fined a further £200,000 following the incident at a Tesco Express store in Liscard, Wallasey, Merseyside, and both companies have to jointly pay £9,379 prosecution costs.
As well as the injuries sustained by our client, what is concerning is that these breaches may well have put others in harm’s way. The roof was not marked as fragile, yet the store has a false ceiling and the skylights had been painted white with the rest of the roof so that workers were unaware they were treading on plastic roof lights. Workers had been on the roof many times over the five years preceding our client’s accident, in which it was fortunate no members of the public were also injured in the process.
Following an accident at work such as this, a victim may have several questions in regards to if and how they should bring a compensation claim.
It is natural that a person may feel reluctant to pursue a claim against their employer because they are concerned about the consequences. First of all, employers and businesses have a legal duty to employees and members of the public: public liability. This involves having insurance that covers for any accidents that may occur on the premises.
In our previous blog, Will I Lose My Job if I Claim For an Accident I’ve Had at Work?, we discussed the ways in which UK laws protect workers in the event of a claim. The Employment Rights Act 1996 prevents an employer from dismissing an employee unfairly and from dismissing someone for bringing a compensation claim against them.
The question of whether you should bring a claim may be a question of need. In my aforementioned case, my client was unable to work and required medical treatment in order to recover from the accident. In a case such as this, a worker may incur a loss of earnings, meaning they are unable to cover their usual costs of living, and may also face expensive medical costs as a result of the accident, for which an accident at work claim would provide financial support.
It is the responsibility of an employer to ensure that all employees are kept safe at work. Where your employer fails in this duty of care you are entitled to a claim in the event of an accident at work. Five ways employers have a duty of care towards you are:
- Providing safe equipment or machinery
- Ensuring safe manual handling procedures
- Providing a safe working environment
- Following health and safety regulations as opposed to ‘one off’ requests
- Holding employer’s liability insurance.
For further reading on bring an accident at work claim, see: Five Essential Facts About Accidents at Work
Christopher Baxendale is an Associate specialising in personal injury law at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
The expert work accident solicitors at Slater and Gordon offer a free consultation for anyone injured or taken ill because of the work they do. Most cases are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis, meaning there is no financial risk to you.
Call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.