Employers must provide you with the correct personal protective equipment to suit the type of work you carry out on a daily basis. This equipment helps ensure you are kept safe from harm and injury in the workplace and includes work wear like gloves, goggles, high-visibility clothing and other items of clothing and equipment. Should your employer fail to provide the necessary PPE and you suffer an injury or develop a health issue, you could be entitled to file an accident at work claim against them and be awarded the level of compensation you deserve for all the pain and suffering as well as out of pocket expenses you incurred due to employer negligence.
What is the Law Relating to Personal Protection Equipment?
The law requires that all employers abide by the following regulations:
- The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulation 1992 (including amendments)
Employers must provide the correct protective wear and equipment to all employees who work with hazardous chemicals and who work in more dangerous environments handling hazardous material which includes the following:
What is PPE so Important?
Employers have a duty to make sure the workplace is safe for their employees which includes providing the following:
- Adequate instructions to carry out a job
- Correct procedures on how to carry out tasks
- Adequate training to suit a job
- The right level of supervision at all times
Your employer must also ensure that a working environment is as safe as possible which includes making sure that the right protective equipment and wear is made available and this includes reducing the risk of being injured by providing the correct PPE even when measures have been set in place. This includes the following:
- Breathing in contaminated air which could negatively impact your lungs
- Suffering head and foot injuries from objects/materials falling from heights
- Sustaining eye injuries from splashes of dangerous/corrosive liquids or particles that fly through the air
- Suffering skin injuries/complaints from coming into contact with hazardous/corrosive materials and liquids
- Suffering injuries to the body from extreme temperatures whether hot or cold
When an employer fails to provide the correct PPE or fails to maintain the equipment and work wear in good condition, it puts you at risk of suffering an injury in the workplace. Employers who are negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm at work, may be ruled liable should you wish to file an accident at work claim against them.
What Training Do Employers Have to Provide?
Employers must ensure that all employees are correctly trained to carry out the jobs they are tasked to carry out during the course of their working day or night. Employees must be provided with the following even if the correct measures are set in place to reduce the risk of being injured or developing a work-related health issue:
- The correct training where specialist equipment is used in the workplace
- Training to recognise and detect faults and to report these accordingly
Your employer must provide protective wear and equipment that meet the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 and which are CE marked. They must also do the following:
- Select the correct equipment to suit a job and the user, examples being the correct size which means allowing an employee to choose it
- To train employees on how to use their protective wear an example being on how to take off gloves without causing any skin injuries
- To never allow any exceptions to when and where PPE should be worn an example being when a job would only take a couple of minutes to do
- That PPE is correctly maintained and looked after which includes being stored properly so that is in good condition
- That employees use PPE correctly and that they report any damage, loss or destruction when necessary
- To make sure that the correct replacement parts are used when necessary
- To ensure employees know who is responsible for the maintenance of all PPE that is used in the workplace
- To ensure that the necessary disposable wear is available to employees as well as visitors to a workplace/work site
It is worth noting that employers must ensure that when employees have to wear more than one protective wear item, that they can be worn together without any issues or without putting workers at risk of suffering any sort of injury. This includes when wearing safety goggles and breathing equipment. Employers must also ensure that the correct equipment is available in the case of an emergency which includes breathing apparatus, safety ropes, safety harnesses and respirators.
What is the Time Limit Associated With Filing a Claim Against My Employer?
The statutory time limit for accident at work claims is 3 years from the date of a work-related accident that left you injured or 3 years from the date you were diagnosed as suffering from a work-related health issue or medical condition. Relevant accident at work time limits are detailed below:
- 3 years from the death of a member of your family due to employer negligence in not providing adequate personal protective equipment
- 3 years from the date you were first aware of a health issue or medical condition you developed in the workplace because an employer failed to provide the correct or adequate PPE
Because there is a statutory limit of 3 years attached to accident at work claims, seeking legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in this type of claim is essential. It means you stand a much better chance of filing a successful claim against a negligent employer and being awarded the level of compensation to suit your injuries and out-of-pocket expenses.
What Are My Rights Following an Accident at Work?
When you have an accident at work that leaves injured because you were not provided with the correct PPE to suit the job you were tasked to do, you have certain rights which an employer must recognise and abide by. These are as follows:
- Your job is safe even if following an accident at work that left you injured through no fault of your own, you decide to file for compensation against your employer
- You receive an amount in compensation to cover your out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering that are a direct result of having been injured in the workplace because your employer failed to provide adequate PPE
Your employer’s duty of care towards you must include the following which are legal requirements:
- That you are provided with adequate PPE to suit the job you are tasked to do
- To carry out regular risk assessments in the workplace and to set in place measures that minimise any risks to employees
Should your employer ignore health and safety executive regulations or fail to provide the correct PPE for the job you do and you suffer an accident at work that leaves you injured, you would have every right to file for compensation.
What to Do If You Suffer an Injury or Develop an illness Due to Employer Negligence
There is a procedure that must be followed should you be involved in an accident at work that left you injured because you were not given the correct protective wear to carry out the job. First and foremost, you should seek medical attention for your injuries. Other steps that must be taken following an incident in the workplace should include the following, even if at first, you have not decided to file an accident at work claim against your employer:
- Make sure the incident is reported to the person in charge or your employer
- Make sure the accident is recorded in the Accident Report Book and failing this, make sure you write down all the details of the incident and send a copy to your employer, keeping a copy for your own records – you should be allowed to read the report even at a later date to make sure the details of the incident are correct
- Take photos of where the accident occurred
- Take photos of your injuries before you are treated
- Get witness statements and their contact details
- Obtain an official medical report of your injuries
All of the above is required to prove your claim and the more evidence and proof you can provide, the better your chances are of being awarded the accident at work compensation you deserve.
What Can I Include in My Claim?
Following a work-related accident that left you injured because your employer failed to provide adequate PPE for you to do a job safely, and you want to file for compensation due to employer negligence, it is best to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims. With this said, there are specific things that can be typically included in an accident at work claim. This ensures you are awarded the right level of compensation to suit your injuries and to cover the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result. These are listed below:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages cover the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical injuries that may prevent you from working
- The mental anguish you had to endure
- Loss of companionship you had to cope with
- Loss of career
- Difficulty finding another career
Special damages are awarded to cover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Travel expenses whether you go by bus, train, car or taxi
- Loss of income including bonuses or other perks
- Loss of future earnings because your injuries prevent you from working again
- Care costs should you need to go into a care home or need daily assistance around the home
It is worth noting that every work-related personal injury claim is different and as such, the level of compensation you receive would be calculated on the severity and complexity of your injuries and how much your life and ability to work has been negatively impacted.
Would a Specialist Solicitor Agree to Work on a No Win No Fee Basis?
A lot of people who suffer injuries at work through no fault of their own decide not to file for compensation because of the cost. Legal representation can be expensive which can put you off making a claim even if you think your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm in the workplace. However, these days many solicitors work with their clients on a No Win No Fee basis which means they agree to take on the risk of not being paid should your claim not be successful. The solicitor would enter into a CFA which is a Conditional Fee Agreement with you which is a legal document that sets out the Terms and Conditions of the contract.
It also sets out the percentage you would have to pay on a successful accident at work claim which is known as a “success fee”. The amount you would have to pay would be deducted directly from the amount of compensation you receive, whether awarded by a judge or as a settlement paid out by the insurers which is referred to as a “out of court settlement”.
The solicitor would typically assess your claim by offering an initial, no obligation consultation which is free of charge. Should the solicitor believe you have a strong case against a negligent employer, once the CFA is signed, they would begin working on your accident at work claim without requesting a retainer or upfront fee having entered into a No Win No Fee agreement with you at the outset.