Manual Handling is the action of having to move an object either by carrying, pulling, pushing, lifting, or lowering.
Within the workplace, there are a number of safeguards that an employer should take to ensure the risk of injury from this action is minimised to avoid accidents at work. This includes looking at the weight and size of the item, how many times it needs to me moved and over what time period, how far it needs to be taken, the given space to move it in, and any awkward physical movements that may need to be taken.
Manual handling cannot always be avoided within certain types of jobs, an obvious one being a labourer on a construction site. However, once the potential hazards for each situation have been identified, the employer should look to see how it can be reduced, or if possible, completely eliminated. This could be by providing equipment to assist with the movements, or providing training to ensure their employees can competently carry out the actions/use the relevant equipment. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) looks to provide detailed guidance for the same, and will investigate matters where issues have arise.
If an employer has not taken reasonable action to ensure that risk of injury within the workplace, by way of manual handling has been reduced, and an employee subsequently sustains an injury, then the employee could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Had A Manual Handling Accident? Contact Us Today
When making a claim for such an accident, there are benefits to having legal representatives to pursue the claim on your behalf.
If we were able to accept your case, we would do so on a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is the ‘no win no fee’ basis. This means that so long as you adhered to the terms and conditions of the CFA, there would be no cost to yourself should the case be unsuccessful.
Should the employer’s representatives admit liability and agree to deal with the claim, we can arrange for you to see an independent medical expert who would provide a medical report regarding the injuries sustained. The value of your claim is based upon this evidence, so we would then be able to research and advise upon a valuation bracket that would be reasonable for your individual circumstances.
Should the claim be denied, we would be able to carry out investigations to see whether or not the prospects of success would be sufficient to litigate the matter which could possibly result in going to a Court Hearing. If there were any concerns as to whether it would be successful of not, then we would be able to advise you of this.
Health And Safety Legislation For Manual Handling
The main legislation for Manual Handling within the work place is The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, which sets out the duties of the employers as well as the employees.
This includes stating that each employer should take reasonable action to avoid the need for their employees to undertake manual handling which involves the risk of being injured, or if it cannot be avoided, ensure there has been a sufficient assessment of the action and that appropriate steps have been taken to reduce the risk of injury. Employees’ duties include making full and proper use of any system of work provided by their employer.
Further legislation includes The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999, which includes the need for employers to carry out assessments as to the health and safety risks whilst at work.
Guidance on more specific legislation for each individual circumstance can be found on the HSE website. http://www.hse.gov.uk/
What kind of accidents happen with manual handling
Common circumstances where accidents occur could include:
- Having to lift a large/heavy object by themselves when it would in fact require two or more people to move it;
- Having to move the object by themselves due to work equipment provided either being inadequate or broken
- A lack of training of the employee to ensure they know the correct way to manually handle the object
- The object not being clearly labelled so the employee is unaware of the difficulties attached to it.
Back injuries are commonly associated with manual handling accidents, however as with any type of accident, any number of injuries could potentially arise.
What to do if you’re injured from manual handling or lifting?
One of the first things that should be done after an accident, is to ensure that is has been reported to the appropriate person within the company and the circumstances have been accurately recorded within an accident book. This would mean that there is a contemporaneous record of the incident.
You should of course also look to seek medical attention, not only so that you can obtain treatment for your injuries, but also so that it is recorded within your medical records that your accident and injury occurred. This is important to help prove that your injuries were sustained as a direct result of your accident at work should this ever be raised as an issue.
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How do you prove that the employer is liable for the claim to be successful?
At the outset of any claim, an assessment is made as to the initial prospects of success. If they are deemed to be adequate then the matter can be submitted to the employer’s representatives to investigate. This assessment considers factors such as the accident itself, what actions were or were not taken by both the employee and employer, any previous accidents/complaints, and what would have been reasonable in the circumstances.
If an admission of liability is subsequently provided by the Defendant’s representatives, medical evidence can be obtained the claim can be valued.
If a denial of liability is provided however, you will have to obtain evidence to show the employers had not taken reasonable action to prevent a foreseeable accident from occurring, as required by the legislation quoted above. The burden of proof rests upon the Claimant (the employee) in such matters so it is up to them/their representatives to carry out the necessary investigations to see if the case can in fact be proven.
How much compensation can you receive?
The amount of compensation that can be received is dependent on the severity of the injuries sustained and the effects that they have had upon you daily life. Once you have complete medical evidence that provides a final prognosis for your injuries, this is used to value the claim using the ‘Judicial College Guidelines’ (brackets setting out what various injuries are worth) and also past case law decided upon by court for injuries as similar to yours as possible.
Again, every case is different and so it is likely that it would be the case that two different people who sustain similar injuries could have their claims valued at different amounts, dependant on the impact it has had upon their life as a whole.
Further to the above, the compensation will also depend on the losses and expenses incurred. For example, a viable loss of earnings claim is likely to push the value of a claim higher than someone’s who had only had to purchase painkillers to ease their symptoms.
How long does the claims process take?
There are not set timescales for the length of the whole claims process. It is case specific, as there a so many factors that can affect this. For example, this could include how quickly the employer’s representatives respond to the claim, whether liability is admitted or denied, how complex the injuries are, how complex the medical evidence is and whether the need to litigate arises. Due to this, claims can run from anywhere between 9 months to a few years. You would however be kept up to date regarding the progression and the next steps of the claim as soon as possible when this information is available.
What do you need to make a claim?
As stated above, an accident report and medical attention for your injuries would initially be required. Any photographs of the accident locus and details of any witnesses willing to provide evidence regarding the accident itself and the working conditions could assist with the case if denied. Also, further documents such as a detailed sketch plans and/or a thorough explanation of your work environment/equipment if the circumstances of the accident are complex. It is important that your Solicitors are able to fully understand the incident as they will need to use the description that you have provided to accurately draft the documents required to formally submit the claim to the Defendants.