Nobody goes to work expecting to be injured in the course of their job. It does happen, unfortunately. Some occupations are more prone to accidents than others, but wherever you work, if you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to make a claim for damages.*
What Do I Do If I Am Involved In An Accident At Work
Wherever you work, if you are involved in an accident and suffer an injury, you should:
- Get medical treatment for your injury
- Report the accident to a manager
- If there were witnesses, identify them.
- Record the details of the incident.
- Contact an experienced solicitor.
Common Causes Of Injury At Work
Accidents at work can have multiple causes. We list the more common causes of accidents at work and how to make a claim for damages.
Employers Duty Of Care
You may be able to bring an accident* at work claim if you have been injured as a result of health and safety procedures not being followed. Your employer has a legal duty to ensure you are safe at work. This means they have a responsibility to:-
- Make sure you are properly trained;
- Provide you with a safety statement;
- Provide you with suitable work and personal protective equipment;
- Undertake risk assessments;
- Manage business activities to minimise risks to your health and safety; and
- Provide safe systems of work.
What Is Involved In Making An Accident At Work Claim?
Employment law in Ireland law places strict obligations on employers to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees, particularly by providing a safe place of work, a safe system of work or proper training to their employees. Where injuries are sustained in the workplace it is possible for the injured party to take a legal action against the employer.
The first issue to be established is whether an injury has actually occurred. The claimant must have sustained some form of injury – either physical or psychological – in the course of his or her employment to bring a workplace injury claim. Examples of the type of injuries that occur in the workplace include injuries caused by heavy lifting, repetitive stress injuries and in recent years the courts have granted awards in cases involving stress and anxiety to employees that arose from workplace bullying and harassment.
Common types of accidents* at work
Whilst every accident and injury is unique, this list of common types of accident at work includes accidents and injuries of the greatest frequency in Ireland.
Some of the work accident claims that we can help you with
Your employer has a duty of care to ensure the safety of employees. Training should include the safe pass course and certification in various construction skills. Any workplace hazards should be highlighted and steps taken to mitigate the risks they pose. If an employer’s negligence results in you sustaining an injury on the building site, you may be entitled to make a claim.
If the injury you suffer while working on a construction site stops you from performing your normal duties for three days or more, you must report the accident.
Construction employers must ensure the following:
- Your place of work is safe.
- You have safe access to and from the site.
- Regulations to prevent falls are in place for those working at a height.
- Training is provided for every aspect of working on the site.
- Every possible measure is taken and equipment is provided to prevent falls.
- Falls through fragile materials are prevented.
- Sufficient scaffolding is erected under the proper supervision.
- Employees are protected from falling objects.
- Site materials and equipment are stored safely.
- An employer should ensure that an employee is protected from falling objects and it must ensure that materials and equipment on a site are stored safely.
Warehouses contain several hazards that could cause injury. Your employer has a duty to conduct regular risk assessments to identify any potential hazards and make sure your workplace is safe. They are obliged to provide any necessary training and any safety equipment required to prevent accidents and injury in warehouses.
Remember that warehouse workers must follow workplace health and safety guidelines to reduce the likelihood of an accident. If you are found to have acted recklessly, your injury claim might fail.
Common warehouse accident claims involve:
Agency workers do not have the same employment rights as permanent workers, but they have the same rights when it comes to working and employment conditions. This is clear from the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work.
If you are employed by an agency and you suffer an injury in the workplace while doing the work of a particular company, you are entitled to the same treatment as that company’s permanent staff.
The company may be held liable for the accident if it happened because of the company’s negligent behaviour. You are then eligible to make a claim for compensation.
If you work in retail, you may be involved in an accident in which you suffer an injury. Sometimes, these injuries happen because employers were negligent and breached their duty of care towards their employees. If so, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries. However, these accidents may also result from the actions or negligence of employees.
Retail employers’ duty of care
Before employment starts, retail workers should be advised of the possible risks and hazards they may encounter in the workplace. This can mitigate the risk of workplace accidents and injury.
Retail employers are also obliged to ensure that their employees work in a safe environment. This means providing any necessary protective equipment, as well as the tools required to fulfill their roles.
Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in Ireland. In fact, you are more than twice as likely to suffer a non-fatal workplace injury as an agriculture worker than you are in any other sectors.
The proximity of hazardous machinery and livestock increases the risk of injury, so it is important that you take all necessary precautions to create a safe working environment if you are a farmer or employ people on your farm. If you are injured in the course of working on a farm through no fault of your own, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Legislation & Regulations around Farming
However, any farmer with no more than three employees may use the Code of Practice instead.
Farmers should consult the Farm Safety Online Risk Assessment Tool
They can also get information and guidance from the Agriculture and Forestry Publications section.
Industrial workplaces generally have strict reporting systems in place when it comes to accidents. If you suffer an injury while working in an industrial setting, ensure you report the accident fully and accurately, so that you comply with your obligations.
According to the Health and Safety Acts, you must notify the Health and Safety Authority if your injury causes you to be out of work for three consecutive days.
You should also be aware that Section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004 gives you a month to notify the person responsible for the accident of your intention to make a claim for compensation.
Roofing is an occupation that incorporates a certain level of risk, due to the nature of the work. If you are a roofer who has been injured in an accident at work through no fault of your own, you may have grounds to claim for compensation.
The Health & Safety Authority (HSA) Code of Practice for Safety in Roofwork gives practical guidelines for those involved in the roofing industry to protect roofers. If you have been involved in a roofing accident, your solicitor will assess whether the accident was caused by the employer, contractor, or supervisor breaching the regulations.
The equipment, training, and other resources available to you will help determine your entitlement to compensation. You may be able to claim for lost earnings and/or medical expenses resulting from the accident.
If you have suffered an injury as a waiter, you may be able to claim for compensation against the restaurant owner’s liability insurance policy if you can prove the accident was caused by his negligence. The owner has a duty of care to provide you with a safe working environment.
Waiters can suffer injuries due incidents such as:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Burns and scalds
- Cuts caused by knives and broken glass
It is important to seek medical attention for your injury because it might not be considered serious enough to merit compensation if you don’t.
Restaurant owners are obliged to perform regular risk assessments under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005). If they neglect their duty of care, you must still prove that the accident occurred as a direct result of that negligence to make a waiter accident claim.
Take photographs of the hazard that caused your accident, seek out any witnesses, and speak with a personal injury solicitor. She can confirm whether you are entitled to make a waiter injury compensation claim before submitting an application for assessment to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.
Healthcare worker injury claims are often made because of injuries suffered while turning or lifting patients. Routine tasks that involve moving patients can put excessive pressure on the spine, resulting in serious neck, shoulder and back injury.
Responsible employers take proactive measures to minimize the risk of a healthcare worker injury. The Health and Safety Authority's guidelines on Health and Safety Management in Healthcare detail appropriate safety measures.
Training in proper body mechanics is an important factor in reducing risk. Appropriate assistive equipment and devices should also be employed.
If you suffer an injury while carrying out your duties as a healthcare worker, you may be able to claim, particularly if your employer has not provided adequate staff, properly trained coworkers, or appropriate lifting equipment.
A solicitor with expertise in representing victims of injuries in the workplace will work with you to establish whether you are entitled to make a healthcare worker injury claim.
If you’re a migrant worker who has been injured in an accident at work, you may hesitate about making a claim. Even if the accident was caused by the negligence of your employer, bringing a claim for compensation can be difficult in a foreign country.
Migrant workers are more likely to work in industries with a higher risk profile, such as:
- Waste and recycling
Talk to an experienced solicitor, who will listen to your experiences and work with you to determine whether you have a valid case.