Accident at Work*

Defective Steel Toe Cap Boots Claims*

Steel Toe Cap boots are a health and safety requirement in many industries and a common requirement. Inadequate or no personal protective equipment is a common cause of workplace injuries* in Ireland.

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Employer Responsibility to Provide PPE

It is up to your employer to supply this to you as they have a reasonable duty of care to their staff. Steel cap boots are classed as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which also includes clothing, footwear, glasses, hats, facial protection and gloves. The use of protective equipment in the workplace can greatly reduce the chances of an accident or injury occurring.

Liability

Defective protective equipment can also lead to workplace injuries*, therefore it is important that this equipment is well maintained and repaired or replaced as needed. An employee should not have to use inadequate protective gear when carrying out their role.

Defective steel toe cap boots can cause long-term injuries which may leave the injured unable to work for a certain period of time. These boots are designed to prevent or minimise the chance of injuries being sustained by the wearer as they add a level of protection to the feet from falling objects or compression. They also help to protect against injuries from standing or walking on objects below the foot. A common cause of injuries is as a result of wear and tear of the boots over time.

Employer Duties

An employer has a duty of care to ensure that an employee’s health and safety is a priority while they are at work. This should be the number one priority in any industry. It is the employers’ responsibility to carry out frequent risk assessments as this will help to identify potential hazards. This will also make them aware of the protective equipment which may be necessary for their particular workplace. It is their responsibility to ensure that steel toe cap boots are provided to those who need them.

Employee Duties

The PPE that is required by employees should also be set out in the health and safety regulations of the company so that all employees are aware of this. If it is found that an employer has breached their duty of care and acted in a negligent manner, they will be found liable for the cause of any injuries sustained. Employees also have a responsibility to ensure that they wear any equipment that is provided to them by their employer as they may be found liable due to contributory negligence.

In some cases, the manufacturer of the work boots may be found liable as they failed to provide a product which met the health and safety requirements. A common complaint would be defects in the material used when manufacturing the boots. If it is found that they do not comply with regulations or are defective as a result of negligence on part of the manufacturer then they will be found liable for any injuries sustained as a result. Warranty claims are commonly associated with this as there may have been an issue within the time of warranty and guarantee since the date of purchase.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations

There are certain regulations in place which provide for the health and safety of employees in the workplace. The first being the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations 2007. These regulations outline the point that protective equipment should be provided to employees in a hazardous environment. They also say that an assessment should be carried out to determine what equipment is needed and for how long it should be worn throughout the working day. It is also important that any equipment provided is maintained and kept in a good condition. It should then be replaced as soon as possible when this becomes necessary.

The European Communities Regulations 1993 are in place to ensure that no PPE is placed on the market unless it complies with the health and safety standards and requirements. PPE is deemed to be satisfactory if it has  the ‘CE Mark’. It is up to both the employer and employee to ensure that protective equipment, especially footwear, meets the standards in place so as to reduce the risk of injury if an accident were to happen.

Foot Injuries

Common foot injuries caused by defective steel toe cap boots include:

  • Crushing Injuries
  • Breaks and Fractures (Broken or fractures toes/bones in the foot)
  • Amputations (loss of toes)
  • Cuts and Lacerations
  • Sprains and Strains

What to do after an accident at work*?

Following an accident at work*, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  1. Seek medical attention

    Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after an accident at work*, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries and seek the relevant medical attention. If you have sustained a serious injury ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.

    For minor injuries, you must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.

  2. Report the accident

    It is critical to report the accident to your superior, i.e. a supervisor or manager on site. It doesn’t matter how small you think the accident may be. By law, accidents at work* are required to be reported if the person is injured and can’t perform their daily work tasks for more than three days. Make sure to fill out an Accident Report Form. This can be used in reference to any medical examination and will also prevent any similar accidents that could happen in the future.

  3. Identify any witnesses

    If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed the accident. This may be of use if you do decide to pursue a workplace accident claim*. It is also useful to find out if there is any CCTV in the area where the accident happened.

  4. Document the incident

    It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:

    •  How the accident happened
    •  Details of any witnesses
    •  If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident
    • Take pictures of where the accident happened and what caused the accident
  5. Speak to a workplace accident solicitor*

    If you are considering moving forward with a workplace accident claim* for any personal injuries sustained it is advisable that you speak with a workplace accident claims solicitor* as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A workplace accident solicitor* can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.

    It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist workplace accident* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your workplace accident claim* it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of your injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the workplace accident claim* process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important document in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or Hospital details so he can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your workplace accident claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. You solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and your employer accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or your employer reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus of your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your workplace accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a workplace accident claim* you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a workplace accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the workplace accident*, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases* is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident* to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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