Every year in Ireland many thousands of people are injured at work or suffer work related illness. Common incidents involve handling, lifting, carrying, slips, trips, falling objects, hand-tools, machinery and falls. Others are injured as a result of the repetitive nature of their work activities or the absence of appropriate training. In 2003 alone more than 11,000 people brought successful occupational injury claims against their employers.
An estimated 20,000 people were absent from work for more than three days as a result of injuries incurred in the workplace and a further 38,000 suffered illness caused by or aggravated by their job. Whatever industry you work in it is your employer’s duty to provide a safe working environment and if they fail to do so, you may be entitled to compensation if injuries or illnesses are sustained.
Organisations must meet minimum health and safety standards to prevent their employees being involved in a work accident. Employers must provide:
A safe way for you to carry out your work
A safe building in which to work
Suitable materials and equipment
A safe system of work with proper training and supervision
The legal duty of an employer is to minimise the risk of accident at work compensation claims by taking reasonable care for the health and safety of an employee. This is embodied in both case law and in numerous statutes passed by Parliament for the protection of employees. There are in addition other circumstances where an employer may be absolutely liable for his acts or omissions which result in injury to his employees
You may feel reluctant to make a work accident compensation claim against your employer for fear of victimisation or even losing your job. Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide a safe and secure workplace, provide competent co-workers, adequate materials and equipment, a safe system of work with proper training and supervision. Even if your work accident was caused by faulty machinery or equipment supplied by another company, the responsibility remains with your employer to ensure that it is safe for you to use and you have adequate training. If the work accident was not your fault, you’re entitled to reasonable compensation for your injuries, and the pain and suffering caused.
Even if your personal injury was caused by something a fellow worker did, or didn’t do, your employer will still usually be liable.
Industrial injuries at work are common and your employer will have insurance to cover work accident compensation claims from employers who have been injured at work. The case will be handled by the employer’s insurance company and victimisation is rare.
Compensation that can be claimed includes ‘pain and suffering’ for both the initial injury and for ongoing disability, together with compensation for any disadvantage on the labour market caused by permanent injury. In addition actual financial losses caused as a result of an accident at work can also be claimed including;
loss of earnings
special care aids and equipment
prescription charges and medical fees
cost of care and assistance
costs of assistance for household chores
If you have suffered an accident or illness at work and think you may have a valid case then seek legal advice immediately. Our firm has a wealth of experience and expertise in health and safety legislation and can advise you of the course of action which best suits your particular situation.