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How to protect your workforce and business from personal injury claims

4 min read

15 August 2014

A workplace injury is an illness or injury that arises as a result of or in direct relation to an employee’s job.

Such injuries and illnesses can occur under a range of circumstances in various working environments from offices and factories to bars and restaurants. As an employer, regardless of the location of your workplace, you must be aware of the potential injuries and illnesses, how they can occur and what preventative measures you must take.

It is therefore vital that you take the necessary steps to protect your business and your employees from injuries and illnesses in the workplace, and the subsequent claims that will arise.

Types of injuries in the workplace

Workplace injuries usually happen due to a lack of safety measures or knowledge of the types of injuries that can easily be prevented by employers. Some of the most common workplace injuries are:

Slips, trips and falls can occur in any working environment where: a spillage occurs, there is uneven flooring or there are improperly signposted staircases. Employers can avoid slips, trips and falls through the proper maintenance of surfaces and efficient signage.

Burns in the workplace are commonly chemical, and tend to arise in industrial environments or the beauty industry. Employers should also be aware that burns can occur in commonplace circumstances such as a scalding in a kitchen within the office environment. Burns can be prevented when simple safety measures are put in place, for instance gloves and signage, and employees are properly trained.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome afflicts office workers who regularly use keyboards and any other role that requires frequent or constant motion. This can easily be prevented with the introduction of breaks throughout the working day and, if appropriate, stretching exercises to ensure joints and muscles do not seize up.

Cuts tend to occur when employees are around equipment and machinery with moving elements. The introduction of industrial safety wear such as gloves, and thorough training for all employees on site can help minimise lacerations.

Hearing loss afflicts workers in industrial environments and loud recreational areas such as bars and clubs. Hearing loss tends to affect those who have spent long periods of time working around noisy machinery without the proper protective equipment, or have been deprived of sufficient time away from the noise. 

Employers can prevent hearing loss by providing noise-cancelling head gear, ear plugs, guards with noise dampening material if appropriate and thorough training to ensure employees take sufficient breaks.

When can an employee make a claim?

As an employer you are responsible for ensuring that the proper health and safety measures are in place in order to protect your employees. Should you fail to do so and an employee is injured or falls ill due to long term exposure to a toxic substance or loud noises, that employee is within their rights to make a claim against your business.
How to protect your business from injury claims

In order to protect both your workforce and your business from work place injury claims, it is vital that you implement comprehensive health and safety measures. This should include: training for all employees with regard to equipment and machinery used in their day-to-day work, a well maintained work space and proper protective equipment.

Each industry has health and safety guidelines for employers. By preparing your employees with the right training and equipment according to those guidelines from the outset, your business and your employees can be better protected from the consequences of injuries in the workplace.

Sheldon Davidson is the founder of Sheldon Davidson Solicitors. They are based in the north west and specialise in personal injury, accidents at work and road traffic accidents.

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