Types of Injuries
This can then lead to various injuries, such as torn muscles, sprains and ligament damage. This can leave you with restricted movement in the arm and shoulder area which may leave you unable to carry out certain tasks. Overreaching is a common injury associated with the workplace and generally occurs while working on scaffolding and ladders. Often while using a ladder you may be expected to reach to an object instead of repositioning the ladder.
Who is Liable?
When making a personal injuries claim it is important to determine who is liable for the cause of the accident. In most cases, it is found that the employer is responsible as a result of a breach in duty of care or negligent behaviour. There are certain regulations in place which provide for health and safety in the workplace. The two main pieces of legislation in place which provide for this are the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Work at Height Regulations 2006. They set out the duties which an employer must follow to ensure that they provide a safe working environment for all employees. In order to determine if your employer is responsible for injuries you have sustained in the workplace it must be shown that they did not show a reasonable duty of care.
Employees also have a responsibility to ensure that they do not act in a negligent manner in order to ensure the health and safety of both themselves and their co-workers. If not, then employees may be found liable if this then led to an injury being sustained. It is important to note that if the injured party has contributed to the cause of the accident, through contributory negligence, they may not be entitled to make a claim.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005
This is the main legislation in Ireland which provides for health and safety in the workplace. Outlined in this Act are the duties of both the employer and employee when it comes to providing a safe working environment. Both employers and employees have a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not put either themselves or their co-workers at risk of an injury.
Duties of an Employer
- Provide employees with adequate training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Manage activities in a way which prioritises health and safety
- Ensure that the working environment is practical for the work that is to be carried out
- Ensure there are safety measures in place to help prevent accidents
Duties of an Employee
- Co-operate with their employer in relation to health and safety regulations
- Do not act in a negligent manner
- Attend any training provided to them
- Ensure that they wear the correct protective gear
- Report any accidents or hazards that they are made aware of to their employer
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Work at Height) Regulations 2006
These regulations set out the procedures which must be followed if you are required to work at a height. It is an employer’s duty to minimise the chance of workplace accidents happening so it is advised that working at a height is avoided unless it is necessary. An employer must;
- Carry out a risk assessment before work begins
- Select the correct equipment based on the circumstances of the job
- Consider the risks associated with the work to be carried out
- Ensure employees are provided with the correct equipment and tools
- Ensure employees have the correct protective equipment required for the job
- Outline procedures which must be followed if something goes wrong
Common injuries sustained from a overreaching accident include:
- Rotator Cuff Syndrome
- Torn Muscles
- Ligament Damage
- Sprains and Strains
- Reduced Mobility
- Breaks and Fractures
Lack of Training
All employees should be provided with the correct training needed in order to undertake their job in a safe manner. It is the employer’s responsibility to make this training available to them. Correct training can reduce the risk of an accident occurring as employers will be more aware of what potential hazards could be. If you have not received the training required for your job then it should not be carried out until you have been instructed on the correct practices and procedures.
When working at a height it is important that you choose the correct equipment to complete the job. If the correct equipment is not used it is more likely that you will sustain an overreaching injury.
Positioning of Equipment
One common cause of an overreaching injury is the positioning of equipment. You may be expected to reach a certain object instead of repositioning the equipment in which you are on. This can put a strain on the muscles in your shoulder and back leading to an injury being sustained.
What to do after an accident at work*?
Following an accident at work, there are a number of steps you should follow:
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 more serious injuries 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.
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 for reference in any medical examination and will also prevent any similar accidents from happening in the future.
Identify any witnesses
If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed your 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 your accident happened.
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 your accident
- Take pictures of where the accident happened and what caused your accident
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 Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) for assessment. A workplace accident solicitor can help you in preparing your application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) 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.