The type of injury suffered by claimants of personal injury compensation can vary widely and the awards made can vary enormously. For the more common type of injury, the legal adviser has a benchmark of previous claim history to refer to, which can help estimate what amount the claimant might receive.
Common injuries at work
More accidents happen at work than anywhere else. The most commonly claimed for are injuries to the ligaments, muscles and the back, from heavy lifting or from repetitive strenuous work. More serious are spinal injuries including slipped discs. Lifting from the wrong starting posture is the commonest cause of back injury from lifting. Frozen shoulder is another one, resulting from repetitive handling of awkward objects,causing loss of mobility and pain. Injuries to the hand and fingers are common. In manual handling environments, the employer should carry out a risk assessment to reduce the likelihood of injury and can refer to The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 Act for the detail. In jobs where operatives use dangerous machinery, the employer must provide protective clothing and goggles if necessary. If loose material is part of the process, or objects or machine parts come loose, it may be that the employer should install a screen or shield. Any operative working dangerous machinery must understand the operating and safety procedures and the employer should ensure regular maintenance is carried out.
For the record
The law requires any organisation with more than ten employees to maintain an Accident Book. Serious industrial injuries must be reported to the Incident Contact Centre at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). An employer has a statutory duty to protect his employees against unnecessary injury and must provide:
- A safe place to work
- The establishment of safe working procedure
- Adequate supervision, materials and equipment
- Competent staff
Long term damage
Injury to the body resulting from exposure to hazardous conditions over a long period of time includes cancers such as leukaemia, cataracts and deafness. There are other less well known conditions such as vibration white finger, various lung conditions and other forms of repetitive strain injury to tendons and ligaments.
Whilst it is comforting to know that codes of practice and legislation exist to protect us at work, the best strategy to deal with injury is to avoid it. Ideally, we should be safety conscious at all times, towards ourselves and our colleagues at work.