Work Falls Regulations
In the United Kingdom, work falls account for more fatalities and serious injuries than any other type of work accident. In the latest Health and Safety Executive statistics (2009) relating to UK work falls injuries, there were 35 fatalities, 4654 major injuries and a further 7065 “non-serious” injuries that caused the injured person to be off work for over 3 days or more due to a fall from height.
Because working at height presents greater dangers to the employee, special Work at Height Regulations were introduced in 2005 which cover any procedure which is performed off of the ground. The scope of these regulations cover roofers working at the top of a tall building to shop assistants who may have to use steps to retrieve an item from a shelf.
Qualifying for a Work Falls Claim
In order to qualify for a work falls claim, two criteria have to be fulfilled. First, you must have suffered an injury. A work falls claim in which you have suffered no physical injury can be difficult to pursue unless it can be proven that psychological damage has occurred which has affected your confidence to work at height in the future — thus influencing your job opportunities and income.
Secondly, your employer has to be at fault for any injuries you sustain in work falls. If you fall from height because you could not be bothered to move a ladder into the correct position and over-stretched, your employer could not be considered responsible for your injuries. If however, your work falls injuries were sustained because your employer had provided you with an inappropriate ladder to reach what you were trying to retrieve, then you would qualify for a work falls claim.
Before Making a Work Falls Claim
Before making a work falls claim, it is important that you have a thorough medical check-up. Many work falls result in whiplash-style injuries when the head has been snapped back and forth on impact with a solid object, and symptoms of this injury may take many days to manifest. Consequently, you could be inadvertently doing yourself further damage by continuing to pursue a “normal” routine, or focusing on the pain from one injury which is masking a more serious injury elsewhere in your body.
Once you have received a medical examination, and started to receive treatment for your work falls injuries, there are several actions you can take which will assist a solicitor when making a work falls claim on your behalf.
- Write a Report — A report of all accidents at work (whether they are due to your employer´s negligence or your own) should be recorded in your employer´s “Accident Report Book” explaining the cause and outcome. Your accident should also be reported to the Health and Safety Executive and you should obtain a copy of this report to support your work falls claim.
- Collect Evidence — If you have suffered a serious work falls injury it may impractical to take a photo of the scene and make notes on where your employer failed in his “duty of care” towards you. However, if you can visit the scene after the event, or have somebody do it on your behalf, photographic evidence of negligence can help to quickly resolve your work falls claim.
- Talk to Colleagues — Similarly, discussing your work falls injuries with your workmates may reveal that somebody else has experienced an identical injury to you due to faulty or badly maintained equipment, a lack of training or poor supervision. Their testimony is as important as photographic evidence in strengthening your work falls claim.
- Consult a solicitor — A work falls claim can often have more elements to it than only compensating for the physical trauma you experience and any subsequent loss of income should you be unable to work. If your quality of life is affected — even temporarily — by your work fall injuries, you can integrate this into a work falls claim and, by consulting with a solicitor before making a work falls claim, you will be able to determine what you are fully entitled to receive.
Free Work Falls Claim Advice
As mentioned at the very top of this page, work falls account for a significant number of occupational persona injuries, and where it can be established that your employer is to blame for your accident you are entitled to make a work claims fall. However, a work falls injury can have many consequences, and it is in your best interests to discuss a work falls claim with a solicitor as soon as you have received medical attention for your injuries.
Consequently, we have set up a free work injury claims advice service, which you are invited to call if you have sustained an injury in a fall at work due to the negligence of an employer. Our lines are open from 8.00am to 10.00pm seven days a week. It costs nothing to discuss your claim with a solicitor in complete confidentiality and with no obligation on you to proceed with a work falls claim thereafter.