Accident at Work*

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Claims*

Employers have a duty to provide PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) where applicable. PPE can consist of gloves, overalls, boots, eye and ear protection and is worn by an individual for protection against any potential health and safety hazards.

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Health and Safety Breach

Any instance where an employer has ignored the supply of PPE to save money is considered a health and safety breach and this is where PPE claims* arise. PPE claims* may also arise in cases where an employer provides faulty or inadequate PPE to their employees which causes an injury at work*.

Common Injuries

Some of the common injuries sustained from Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) claims* include:

Types of PPE

PPE can include a variety of different safety gear for different jobs and can include the following:

High Visibility Clothing

Such as Hi Vis jackets for those working at night.

Safety Goggles

These are used in many jobs, for example, a welder must use these to protect their eyes from sparks while welding. A construction worker may use these while carrying out their duties to protect from dust or debris while on a building site.

Hard Hat

This is used to protect a person’s head from falling objects or to protect them if they fall themselves. This is commonly used on a construction site, not only for workers but also for other visitors to the site.

Earmuffs

For those who are exposed to loud noises or working in loud environments.

Gloves

Safety gloves protect the hands and wrists from injuries such as cuts or burns while working with sharp objects to lifting heavy objects.

Safety Harness

This should be provided in cases where you are lifted off the ground while working.

Steel Toe Cap Boots

For a construction site steel toe cap boots are a must to protect your feet from falling objects.

Protective Masks

These face masks prevent a worker from inhaling potentially dangerous dust particles.

Flame Resistant Clothing

Such as flame resistant overalls for firefighters

When is PPE Considered Inadequate?

PPE provided by the employer must meet a certain standard, but it is also up to the employee to take care of the PPE, store it correctly and also let the employer or manager know when the equipment is inadequate or needs replacing. 

Inadequate PPE could resemble one of the following, for example:

  • Eye goggles that don’t fit well and slip off during work.
  • Safety boots that are not the correct size or not appropriate for the work environment – for example on a construction site steel toe cap boots are a must.
  • Hard hats that don’t fit correctly, that slip down off your head or obstruct your vision by slipping down over your eyes or that are not thick enough to protect you from falling objects.
  • Gloves that don’t fit well and are too short or are not thick enough to protect you against the dangers of your job.
  • Firefighters that are wearing below standard flame-resistant overalls.
  • Protective masks that have holes in them.

Employer Responsibilities

Section 8 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 puts the duty of care on employers and states that they should supply PPE to employees in areas where the risk of injury may not be adequately controlled. It also states that the employer should:

  • Ensure that all PPE is maintained in good working order, inadequate hygienic conditions and that adequate storage is available for the PPE and that necessary repairs, maintenance or replacements are carried out as needed.
  • Ensure that PPE is adequate for the purpose of the job at hand.
  • Review periodically the use of PPE and make amendments where needed.
  • Ensure that PPE is used only for its intended purpose and for no other reason (except in specific or exceptional circumstances).
  • Ensure that if an employee must wear more than one item of PPE that both items are compatible with each other.
  • Ensure that where it is necessary for an item of PPE is to be worn by more than one person that it doesn’t create any health or hygiene issues.
  • Inform the employee of risks that the PPE protects them from.
  • Provide the employee with instruction on how to use the PPE.
  • Arrange for training and where necessary provide demonstrations of its use.

Employee Responsibilities

Where an employer has adequately trained an employee on how to use PPE the employee must:

  • Participate in training
  • Follow the training given to them
  • Only use the PPE for its intended use
  • Take all reasonable steps to ensure that the PPE is returned to storage after they have used it.
  • Report any damages or defects to your employer

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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