Accidents in the Office
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The office environment may not be quite as hazardous as a factory or a construction/building site but accidents resulting in personal injury, and sometimes serious injuries, happen.
Your employer owes you a duty of care to ensure that the environment in which you work is safe and free from any hazard that may cause harm.
Within the office environment, therefore, your employer must:
- Provide training where necessary
- Provide safe equipment
- Provide a safe system of work
- Provide appropriate supervision
- Provide and maintain a safe place of work
In addition, your employer must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and all regulations made under it including the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Your employer is therefore legally obliged to provide and maintain a safe environment for you to work in.
To avoid slips and trips, your employer must ensure that all areas including the main reception area, corridors and working areas are kept clean and tidy. There must, for example, be a system in place for deliveries to be stored away immediately to avoid people tripping over boxes; walkways and corridors should be kept clear including within the working areas; and trailing computer and electric cables should be protected to avoid people tripping over them. Furthermore, the office should be kept clean and staff should be made aware that any spillages should be reported and cleaned up immediately. Signs should be available to warn other members of staff that the floor may be wet and therefore slippery. Your employer should ensure that any members of staff using cleaning chemicals are protected against skin irritation or eye damage, should the product come into direct contact with the user. Consideration should also be given as to whether the vapour from the cleaning products may cause problems.
All offices contain electrical equipment such as computers, photocopiers, printers and paper shredders. Steps should be taken to ensure that such equipment is regularly checked so as to avoid the user experiencing electric shocks and/or burns. Lighting in all areas of the building should be adequate.
Millions of workers use computers on a regular basis throughout each day. Your employer must ensure that your work station is properly designed so as to avoid posture problems or pain which may lead to discomfort or injury, for example, to the hands or arms. Further, appropriate training should be provided to members of staff who regularly lift heavy loads and who then have to, maybe, store such goods on high shelves. Your employer should ensure that all risks have been assessed and that appropriate equipment is provided.
“This list is not exhaustive and if you believe you have been injured and it was not your fault, you may be able to claim compensation.”
Your employer is legally obliged to take out insurance cover known as Employers Liability Insurance to cover themselves in the event of an accident. Therefore, it is the insurers who would pay the compensation and not your employer. Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you simply because you are making a claim. Obviously, we cannot guarantee how your employer will react, although, in our experience, it is very rare indeed for the employer to be difficult. In fact, most employers are anxious to assist the injured employee to recover and aid a speedy return back to work.
Legal aid is not available for these types of claims and we therefore offer assistance under a No Win No Fee Agreement. For free legal advice, contact our specialist Personal Injury team on 023 92 483322 (Havant) or on 023 80 631111 (Southampton). Alternatively, complete the response e-mail slip.