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Counting The True Cost Of Accidents At Work

Posted on Wednesday 24th June 2015 by Adrian Cormack

A butcher was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £12,104.76 in costs after his 16-year-old apprentice got his right hand trapped in a mincing machine.Adrian Cormack - Partner, Coles Miller

The boy’s hand had to be amputated – a life-changing injury following an accident that could and should have been avoided. The machine did not have a proper guard.

This is many people’s perception of an accident in the workplace: an horrific scenario but one that could not happen to them because they work in a ‘safe’ environment.

However, our personal injury solicitors can confirm that accidents at work are far more common than most people would think.

And that even the simplest workplace accidents can have significant consequences with long term physical effects, time off work and loss of earnings.

Most of the personal injury claims we handle broadly fall into two categories: accidents in the workplace and road traffic collisions – both of which can result in very serious injuries.

For truck and van drivers, the road is their place of work – and a highly risky one at that.

Commercial drivers are on the road for hour after hour, day after day. Sooner or later they can fall victim to the negligent actions of others.

It takes only a second of carelessness by another road user and the consequences can be fatal or life-changing.

Other workplaces also carry high levels of risk. Look at any set of health and safety statistics and you will see that falls from height are always a major cause of fatal and serious injury accidents at work.

Building sites remain a high risk area for falls, despite all the best efforts of the construction industry to improve health and safety.

Roofers, scaffolders, bricklayers, installers, maintenance engineers: they all face added risks because they work at height.

And workers can still fall victim to accidents even when working a few feet off the floor. We have helped a number of people who have suffered injuries after falling from small step-ladders or step-stools at work.

Even in today’s modern workplaces and safety-conscious environment, accidents can and do still happen with alarming regularity:

  • slips, trips and falls caused by unsafe surfaces or carelessly discarded packaging
  • injuries caused by excessive lifting without the proper safety training
  • exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • vibration-related and repetitive strain injuries
  • stress – as defined by the Health & Safety Executive: “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.”

Talk to anyone who has suffered an accident at work – even a minor one – and you will soon understand all the knock-on effects it can have. Consequences you may not previously have considered.

Need legal advice following an accident? Want to know your rights? Contact Coles Miller Partner Adrian Cormack or Partner Chris Whittle – they are listed in the UK Legal 500 guide for their personal injury expertise.

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