Common causes of accidents at work

You may take legal action after  you have been involved in an accident at work or injured because of your employer’s actions or negligence.*

Personal injury claims generally involve:

  • A plaintiff or claimant  – this is the person making the claim (you).
  • A defendant – the person(s) you are making the claim against.
  • Your solicitor
  • PIAB – Personal Injury Assessment Board (often called the Injuries Board). PIAB assesses most  personal injury claims before any further steps are considered.

What Are The Common Causes Of Injury At Work?

Injuries in the workplace can be sustained in a wide array of accident types. As a personal injury law firm with over 50 years experience representing injured parties Ireland we understand the nature of various types of accidents. We are able to articulate the effects they have on a client’s life, and the types of medical care required, in the context of a personal injury case.

Accidents at work can have multiple causes. Here are just some of them:

Ladder accident claims

Most ladder accidents are avoidable, so substantial compensation may be claimed if injuries are suffered in a fall due to proven negligence. If you have been injured in a ladder fall accident, you may be entitled to make a ladder accident claim.

Common ladder accident injuries 

The severity of the injuries you suffer in a ladder accident usually depends on the height from which you fell. Common ladder accident injuries include: 

  • Concussion
  • Broken Bones
  • Cuts & lacerations
  • Torn ligaments
  • Brain damage
  • Paralysis.

Reasons for Ladder Accidents

  • Overreaching
  • Unsecured ladder that slips
  • Poorly maintained ladder
  • Slippery surfaces

Employer duty of care

Your employer has a duty of care to ensure that everything possible is done to protect employees from a ladder accident at work. Employees also have a duty of care to ensure they follow working/ health and safety procedures produced by their employer. However, even if an employee is deemed to be partially responsible for the accident, that does not negate the employer’s legal duty of care.

Manual handling injury claims

Manual handling injury claims are common in cases where employees have not been adequately trained in lifting and carrying heavy objects. Back, neck, and shoulder injuries can often result.   

If you have sustained an injury such as a back injury while lifting something heavy at work, and you did not receive proper manual handling training from your employer, you may be able to make a manual handling injury claim.

Contact an experienced solicitor who will listen to your case and determine whether you could be eligible to make a manual handling injury claim.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) claims

If you have suffered an injury at work due to a lack of adequate personal protective equipment, you may be entitled to claim.

You may make such a claim against your employer only if they have failed in their duty of care regarding your personal safety in the workplace. A failure to provide adequate PPE could constitute employer negligence if:

  • PPE was warranted for the task you were asked to perform.
  • The task you were asked to perform put you at an unacceptable risk of injury without appropriate PPE.
  • PPE would have prevented your injury 

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005), if health risks remain in the workplace even after all practical steps have been taken to prevent them, training and PPE should be provided as appropriate. Compensation for work injury due to a lack of appropriate PPE can be claimed against the employer’s liability insurance policy if your employer has been proved to be negligent. 

To increase the chances of a successful claim:

  • The work injury must be diagnosed by a doctor or at a hospital.
  • Medical treatment must be sought immediately. 
  • An official accident report must be made to the employer.

Dangerous machinery claims

Dangerous machinery accidents can leave a person with life-threatening injuries and affect their ability to work. If you have been injured in an accident involving dangerous machinery, you may be entitled to claim. 

Employer Liability 

Your employer has a duty of care to ensure you have a safe working environment and are properly equipped and trained in the use of dangerous machinery. You also have a responsibility to ensure that you act in a safe manner when using this equipment, however. 

The makers of dangerous machinery are required to ensure that they provide their customers with functioning, non-defective machinery. Manufacturing defects can cause accidents with dangerous machinery. 

To prevent dangerous machinery accidents, employers must conduct regular risk assessments, provide correct training to all staff,  and supply appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers who breach these conditions may be liable for the injury sustained.

Dangerous Practices and Procedures at Work Claims

You should only perform dangerous practices and procedures if you are in a controlled work environment where your employer has provided all appropriate safety measures, which you follow. All activities should put health and safety first. Otherwise, dangerous practices and procedures in the workplace can cause accidents and injuries.

Employers’ duty of care

Employers are required to minimise the risk of accidents and injury to employees by following certain steps. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 outlines the duties of an employer to ensure the safety of staff. If the employer breaches these, he is likely to be found negligent and responsible for any resulting accidents or injuries. 

Your employer is responsible for:

  • Conducting regular risk assessments
  • Reviewing health and safety statements regularly
  • Providing appropriate training and protective equipment
  • Putting safe practices and procedures in place

If your employer fails in any of these responsibilities, he could be found liable for resulting accidents and injury to employees and visitors to the site. However, it is also your responsibility as an employee to behave responsibly during the course of your work. Otherwise, you may be found liable if an accident occurs.

Falling Object Injury Claims

If you have been injured by a falling object at work and you can prove your employer was responsible, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Falling object injuries are common where people are working at height, often on construction or demolition sites.

Establishing liability

If you can prove your employer failed to comply with legal statutory duties to minimise and prevent the risk of injury from falling objects, you should succeed in your claim for compensation for a falling object injury.

In environments such as construction or demolition sites, the site management company should conduct a thorough risk assessment and take every precaution to minimise the risk of injury. Such precautions include requiring workers and visitors to wear personal protective equipment such as hard hats, and creating safety zones with proper signage.

Falling object injuries

Falling objects can cause head injuries including:

  • Concussion
  • Brain damage
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Psychological trauma

Slip, trips, and falls in the workplace

Slips, trips and falls in the workplace are common causes of claims for injury. In order to claim for such an injury, however, you must establish that your employer is legally responsible for the injuries you suffered.

Establishing liability

To hold your employer responsible for your injury and proceed with a claim, they must have:

  • caused the spill, worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface or item that caused your fall,
  • Been aware of the dangerous surface but done nothing about it,
  • Or known about the dangerous surface because any reasonable person in charge of such a property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.

It can be difficult to prove the third condition, and common sense often determines liability in these cases. A judge may decide whether the steps the owner or occupier took to keep the property safe were reasonable.

Vehicle crashes and collisions

Vehicle crashes and collisions in the workplace can involve cars, trucks, and forklifts. You may be injured in a vehicle crash at work if you are hit by a vehicle or objects falling from it, you fall from the vehicle, or you are crushed by an overturned vehicle.

Types of vehicle crashes at work 

Vehicle-related accidents at work are either on the road or in a work setting. Employees can be injured in a crash on the road or in traffic zones. They can also be injured or cause injuries while operating vehicles and equipment in their work environment.

Preventing a vehicle collision at work

Your employer has a duty of care to ensure that all vehicles in the workplace are regularly checked and maintained. Employees should know the correct procedures for using and working around vehicles in the workplace. They should be appropriately trained and licensed to maximise workplace safety.

Acoustic shock claims

Not all workplace injuries are visible. If you work in a noisy environment, you may suffer acoustic shock, which can be devastating.

If you suffer this injury because of your work, an experienced solicitor could help you claim acoustic shock compensation. 

What is acoustic shock?

Acoustic shock can cause serious hearing damage. It is most common in call centres and is caused by a sudden, high-pitched or high-volume sound. Technical faults, feedback, or loud noises can cause hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a painful sensitivity to sound. Apart from telecoms equipment, oscillators, amplifiers, and loud impacts can also cause acoustic shock.

It does not always cause hearing loss or deafness, but the damage acoustic shock causes can have ongoing physical and emotional effects. If you’ve suffered work-related acoustic shock, your solicitor will be able to help you in your efforts to claim compensation.

Angle grinder accident claims

Angle grinder accidents are most common where inexperienced or untrained staff use the tool. A powerful device common in welding, farming, and vehicle repairs, angle grinders can cause work-related injuries that may even be fatal.

Who is Liable?

When making an angle grinder accident claim, you need to prove who is responsible for the accident and the injuries it caused. To hold your employer liable, you must prove that they breached their duty of care to ensure that employees’ health and safety is prioritised.

Your employer should conduct regular risk assessments to identify and remove potential hazards. Other duties to help prevent accidents in the workplace are outlined in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. They include:

  • Ensuring activities prioritise health and safety
  • Supplying proper training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Maintaining a practical environment for the work that is to be carried out

Breaching these duties could make the employer liable for injuries suffered in an angle grinder accident at work.

However, employees who fail to follow the regulations and act in a negligent manner may be found liable for the accident and fail in any claim made against their employer.

Broken handrail accident claims

If you fall or slip at work because of a broken handrail, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Your first step is to contact an experienced solicitor, who will help to confirm whether you have a valid case.

How do broken handrail accidents happen?

Accidents caused by broken handrails can be more serious than accidents caused by the absence of a handrail because the presence of the handrail can give you a false sense of security. Grabbing a handrail that then gives way can result in severe injuries because the person would be more vigilant if there was no protective rail at all.

Establishing liability in a handrail accident

To make a successful claim in a broken handrail accident in your workplace, you must prove that your employer was responsible for the accident. Your employer has a duty of care to ensure that employees’ health and safety is prioritised. They are required to carry out regular risk assessments to identify and remove potential hazards. A broken handrail would normally constitute such a hazard. 

Conveyor belt accident claims

If you work in a factory, warehouse, or other industrial setting, you are probably exposed to a conveyor belt in your job. Conveyor belts are useful tools, but they can also cause serious injuries. These injuries can include loss of limbs, lacerations, and even fatalities. 

When using a conveyor belt, you are responsible for doing so in a safe manner, but you may be able to claim for compensation for a conveyor belt accident if you can establish that your employer was negligent. 

Who is liable?

Employers have a duty of care to workers to ensure that all tools and machinery are in good working order and are safe for their employees to use. Otherwise, they could be liable for any injuries suffered in a resulting accident. Employers also need to conduct regular maintenance checks and provide appropriate training.

Chemical and gas inhalation claims

You may be entitled to claim compensation if you have sustained injury as a result of inhaling chemicals or gases at work. Inhaling toxic chemicals and gases can have serious, lasting effects on your health and well-being.

Effects of chemical and gas inhalation 

High levels of gases including methane and carbon dioxide can cause nausea, fainting, and impaired senses and faculties. Other gases,  such as chlorine and ammonia, can cause instant damage to the nasal lining and give you a burning sensation in your nose and mouth.

Causes of accidents involving chemical and gas inhalation

Toxic-gas accidents may happen if: 

  • Your employer failed to supply you with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • A coworker spilled a toxic substance
  • Damaged equipment allowing gas to leak undetected

What can you claim?

A good solicitor will help you with your claim for injuries from a chemical or gas accident. Compensation may include so-called general damages for your injuries and/or “special damages” for things like loss of income and the cost of medical treatment. 

Cherry picker accident claims

Construction site accidents may involve cherry pickers or other mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs), particularly while the machine is operating at height.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a cherry picker or MEWP, you may suffer life-changing injuries. You  could be entitled to compensation for those injuries. Talk to an experienced solicitor to help you with your claim so that you can get your life back on track.

Establishing liability

Employers are responsible for ensuring that all tools and machinery are safe and in proper working order. They also need to conduct regular maintenance checks and provide appropriate training.

The potential of a cherry picker accident happening increases if the cherry picker is not used for the purpose intended. If you have been injured while using a cherry picker and it established that you were acting in an unsafe manner, you may fail in your claim.

Crane accident claims

Cranes are widely used in the construction and shipping industries to lift heavy loads. Accidents involving this kind of heavy machinery can cause severe injury and fatalities. To make a claim for an injury suffered in a crane accident, you will have to prove that your injury was due to the negligence or lack of care of your employer.

Types of crane accidents

Defective equipment, high winds, contact with overhead power lines, and miscommunication can all lead to crane accidents. Before any lifting operation begins, a comprehensive safety risk assessment is crucial.

Most crane accidents happen at ground level, with workers suffering injury from contact with swinging or falling loads, or trapping limbs when attempting to steady and secure a load. As a result, safety training is vital, with special regulations included in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.

Establishing liability for crane accidents

Establishing liability for a crane accident can be difficult. It may be clear that the machinery was not maintained in good working order,but it is far more difficult to prove that crane accidents caused by human error happened because of a lack of training or supervision.

Employers are required to provide a safe working environment for their employees.This covers all aspects of operating a crane. If an employer fails in his duty of care, he is liable for any injuries resulting from crane accidents.

Defective work equipment claims

It can be frustrating if faulty work equipment stops you from doing your job, but it can be life-threatening if the defective equipment causes an accident.  

If you have been injured in a defective work equipment accident and are considering making a claim for compensation, you should consult an experienced solicitor. 

Establishing liability

A good solicitor will help to determine whether your employer took the necessary steps to ensure that the equipment you use at work is safe. They have the expertise to ascertain whether your employer knew (or should have known) about the defective nature of the equipment before your accident. 

Defective work equipment injuries

Injuries are frequently the result of:

  • Inadequate maintenance/inspection of machinery
  • Failure to supply adequate personal protective equipment
  • No proper health and safety assessment

Defective steel toe cap boot claims

Steel toe cap boots are a simple and effective way of protecting employees’ feet at work. Your employer has a duty of care to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees when it would protect them from injury. They should provide you with suitable steel cap boots if your health and safety is in question at work. Examples of relevant settings include construction sites or jobs involving heavy lifting.

What is your employer’s duty?

Your employer should ensure that the boots are suitable for the risks involved in your work and inform you of those risks.

If you are not provided with the appropriate boots when you should have been, or if they are not suitable or poorly maintained, you may be able to claim against your employer for any injury you can attribute to the boots.

Forklift accident claims

Most forklift accidents happen on construction sites and in retail warehouses. If you have been involved in a forklift accident at work, and your employer was responsible for it, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. Defective equipment, improper training, and negligence on the part of the operator can cause forklift accidents. 

Employer liability

Employers must provide the appropriate training permits before they allow a worker to use a forklift. They must also provide safe working conditions and conduct regular risk assessments before machines can be operated. Safety measures might include floor markings, warning signs, and designated traffic routes for machinery with pedestrian walkways.

If your employer has failed in his duty of care to ensure your safety, you may be entitled to claim for injuries suffered in a forklift accident.  

Forklift accident causes

Causes of forklift accidents can include:

  • Collisions with other machinery
  • Loads falling from a height
  • Unsafe operation
  • Collisions with pedestrians
  • Driving too fast
  • Inadequate warning signs 

Health and safety breaches claims

Your employer has a duty of care to employees to implement health and safety regulations to keep them safe and well. Failure to do so can result in accidents and injuries. If you have been injured in an accident caused by health and safety breaches in your workplace, you may be eligible to claim for compensation.

Employer liability

Employers must follow regulations set out in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. If you think your employer may have breached health and safety regulations, you should refer to information provided by the Workplace Relations Commission, even if an accident has not happened. 

However, you should also remember that employees are expected to follow health and safety regulations too. If you have been found to have acted in a negligent manner while at work, you may not be entitled to claim for any resulting injury. Consult an experienced solicitor to find out more.

Inadequate lighting accident claims

Poorly lit areas make it harder to spot hazards and steps. If you have been injured in an accident caused by inadequate lighting, you may be entitled to claim. Bad lighting may be the result of a failure to replace a bulb, poorly placed fittings, or an absence of lighting.

Common inadequate lighting accidents

The most common accidents caused by inadequate lighting are slip and fall accidents. These can happen either at your workplace or in a public place. Either way, they are often the result of the property owner’s negligence and failure to provide a safe environment.

Establishing liability

To pursue a claim for injuries sustained in an inadequate lighting accident claim, you will have to prove who was responsible for the accident. If you were even partially responsible, you may not be eligible to make a claim.

If the accident happened at work, your employer should provide a safe working environment. A failed bulb or lack of lighting in a certain area should be addressed immediately, and frequent risk assessments should be carried out. 

If the employer is renting the premises, the landlord may be found liable.

Overreaching work injury claims

An overreaching injury happens when you stretch too far to reach something. As a result, you may damage muscles or tendons in your back, arms, or shoulders and may even suffer restricted movement in the arm and shoulder area. Overreaching injuries often happen while working on scaffolding and ladders. 

Establishing liability

To make a claim for an overreaching work injury, you need to determine that your employer breached their duty of care or engaged in negligent behaviour. 

The two key sets of regulations that apply are the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Work at Height Regulations 2006. However, if you are shown to have contributed to the cause of the accident in any way, you might not be entitled to claim. 

Pallet accident claims

Accidents involving pallets can be quite serious because of the heaviness of the pallets and the items on them. To make a claim for an injury caused by a pallet accident, you will have to establish who was to blame for the accident. Your solicitor will help you to pursue a claim.

Who is responsible?

Your employer has a duty of care to ensure your health and safety. Their responsibilities in this regard are largely set out in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. Pallet accidents generally happen in factories, warehouse environments, and stockrooms. Your employer must ensure that the risk of accidents or injuries in these settings is minimised. As an employee, you also have a duty to behave responsibly. They should also ensure that all staff are appropriately trained and know about the potential risks associated with the work to be carried out.

Scaffolding accident claims

Construction sites can be hazardous, particularly where scaffolding is involved. Exposure of scaffolding materials 

to the elements makes it even more important to implement appropriate and ongoing health and safety measures to keep employees working with scaffolding safe.

Establishing liability

If you have been injured in a scaffolding accident caused by the negligence of your employer, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. Your employers’ duties are outlined under Sections 8, 10, 17, and 18 of Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005. They include a responsibility to:

  • Ensure the safety, health and welfare of workers in the workplace
  • Avert any inappropriate workplace behaviour or habits that are likely to put worker safety, health or welfare at risk.
  • Ensure that the workplace is safe and free of health risks.

Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the process of making a claim for a scaffolding accident injury.

Welding accident and illness claims

Welding involves using intense heat to forge metals together. The process can emit fumes that cause illness if welders have not been supplied with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). If you have sustained an illness or injury because of welding in the workplace, you may be able to make a claim against your employer. 

Employer responsibility

Although welding does present risks, these can be mitigated if the right protective measures are put in place. Welders should ensure that the appropriate equipment is provided for them to carry out their job correctly and safely. These include proper clothing, gloves, and a mask to prevent the inhalation of toxic fumes. Employers should also ensure adequate training.

Work footwear injury claims

Work footwear injury claims may arise if workers are not provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for working in a hazardous environment. PPE includes clothing, footwear, gloves, hard hats and protective masks and is necessary for all employees who work in a potentially hazardous environment.

Duty of Care

If you have suffered a work footwear injury, you may be entitled to make a claim if you can prove that your employer failed in their duty of care. An employer who has not provided the correct footwear to ensure the health and safety of employees in settings such as warehouses, factories, and kitchens is likely to find themselves liable for any accidents or injuries suffered as a result.

However, employees must also ensure that they are following regulations and wearing any equipment that is supplied to them. If it is found that an employee has not followed health and safety procedures, they will be found liable for any resulting injuries.

Falling from a height claims

Falling from a height at work can cause serious injury. If you have been injured while falling from a height, you may be entitled to make a claim. Such claims usually happen when a person is either :

  • Working on a ladder
  • Working on a roof
  • Using a step ladder 
  • Using a cherry picker or a tall vehicle

Establishing liability

To make a claim for an injury suffered while falling from a height at work, you must prove that your employer was responsible. They should ensure that:

  • You can easily and safely reach high items.
  • The equipment used for the job is robust and well maintained

Employees also have a duty to ensure their negligence does not cause an accident. You should do as much work as possible from the ground and avoid overreaching. You should also avoid standing on the top step of a step ladder and take measures to work outside only when the weather is suitable.  

Asbestosis claims

Asbestosis is an incurable lung disease that leads to long-term breathing difficulties. Its only cause is exposure to asbestos. It may not be diagnosed until decades after exposure, but you may be entitled to make a claim against your employer if they were responsible for the exposure.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibres that resist heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. It was a widely used material in the construction industry until the late 20th century, when its carcinogenic effects were exposed. It is now illegal. 

Asbestos is dangerous only if it is releasing dust or fibres that can be inhaled or ingested. The average time span between inhaling asbestos fibres and the onset of symptoms is approximately 35 years. Asbestos-related conditions include pleural plaques, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

Liability for asbestosis

If you have developed any asbestos-related condition (apart from pleural plaques) and you can prove that somebody else was responsible for your exposure to the asbestos,you would be entitled to bring a claim for compensation.

Walking into objects claims

It is easy to walk into objects when you are distracted by another task, or you did not expect the obstruction to be there. If you suffer an injury from walking into an object and you believe the accident was your employer’s fault, you may be entitled to make a claim.

Establishing liability

Accidents caused by employees walking into objects might be prevented if employers reminded their employees to be observant when walking through the workplace and highlighted any hazardous objects that employees might walk into. If an employer has not provided adequate storage for objects left lying around and has not ensured appropriate safety measures, they may be held responsible for any accident that occurs as a result.

Digger accident claims

Digger accidents generally happen on construction sites, with injuries sustained in falls or collisions with diggers.  If you have been involved in a digger accident at work, and you can prove your employer was liable for it, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. Faulty equipment, inadequate training, and negligence on the part of the operator can cause digger accidents. 

Employer liability

Employers must provide adequate training before they allow a worker to use a digger. They must also ensure working conditions are safe and conduct regular risk assessments before machines can be operated. 

If your employer has breached his duty of care to ensure your safety, you may be entitled to claim for injuries suffered in a digger accident.  

Digger accident causes

Causes of digger accidents can include:

  • Collisions with other machinery
  • Unsafe operation
  • Collisions with pedestrians
  • Driving too fast
  • Falls from diggers

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