Law firms such as Accident Advice Helpline deal with hundreds of potential claims from workers every week. The workers generally contact the company because they have been injured in an accident at work that was not their fault.
Of course, opinions differ as to who caused an accident and so working out who was actually at fault can be tricky. This is sometimes called responsibility for an accident claim. If it can be shown that the employer has responsibility for an accident claim then the claim is often paid out of Employer’s Liability Insurance.
Employers have a general duty to keep their workers safe. There is plenty of guidance available to them on how to do this properly. There are several aspects to keeping workers safe and so avoiding responsibility for an accident claim case. One of them is conducting a comprehensive risk assessment. There are five steps to carrying out a risk assessment and they are set out in some detail below.
One way of trying to avoid responsibility for an accident claim – risk assessment
- Start by identifying the hazards. It is not possible for an employer to protect an employee from hazards if they are not known to him. A simple walk around the workplace watching employees at work is a good start. Taking a good look at the working environment is another. Employees are a great source of information so they should be consulted about what hazards they think are present in their workplace. There’s also a vast amount of written information. Enforcement agencies like the Health & Safety Executive and the local Environmental Health Department have a lot of guidance material that can help avoid responsibility for an accident claim. Trade associations and manufacturers of equipment also supply a great deal of information on work hazards.
- For each hazard a list of the people who could be affected is compiled. This could include workers, cleaners, visitors, contractors, members of the public and anyone else who could be affected by the work activity. Some workers are at particular risk of certain hazards because they are pregnant, young or have certain disabilities.
- The risks are then evaluated and precautions – which will avoid responsibility for an accident claim – are put in place. The best precaution is to get rid of the hazard altogether but this is not always possible. Controlling risk is generally achieved by switching to a less hazardous method of work, guarding the hazard, organising work to reduce exposure, providing personal protective gear, like gloves and goggles, and by providing extra welfare and hygiene facilities for washing and showering.
- The risk assessment should be written down. There are templates available for employers to use. The risk assessment could include a plan of action which sets out all the improvements that are needed and when they are going to be achieved. Training, regular checks and clear responsibilities are key to ensuring that the risk assessment is actually successful in making the workplace safer.
- The risk assessment is not to be completed only then to be hidden away or ignored. It has to remain relevant to the current work and so should be reviewed and updated regularly.
Call Accident Advice Helpline today on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 for advice on making a personal injury compensation claim.
Date Published: 9th June 2013
Author: Sharon Parry