Firefighter Injury Claim *
Due to the nature of the job, it would be quite common for a firefighter to be injured at work * if the necessary procedures and precautions are not in place. Injuries can be sustained for a number of different reasons and in various different locations and situations. It is important that the right steps are taken to try to reduce the risk of accident and injury to firefighters *. A firefighter who has sustained an injury during the course of their work * they may be entitled to make an accident claim *.
It is important to note that a claim can also be made if there was an accident which involved a fire vehicle, including fire engines, cars and vans.
Who is Liable?
It can be difficult to determine who is responsible for injuries sustained by a firefighter during the course of their work. As the job can be quite dangerous at times, there is a certain expectation that they may be aware of the potential risks. Despite this, if an injury has been sustained during training while travelling to or from a location or during an incident it may be possible to make a claim against their employer. If an injury has been sustained while a firefighter is attending the scene of a road traffic accident a claim can be made against the insurance company of the drivers involved.
An employer has certain duties which must be carried out to ensure the health and safety of employees. If there is a breach of their duty of care or negligence on part of the employer, the chances of an accident occurring will become much higher. These duties include;
- Managing activities in a way which prioritises health and safety
- Ensuring that all staff have received the correct training
- Providing and maintain personal protective equipment needed by employees
- Informing customers of the potential risks associated with the job and precautions on how to avoid accidents and injury
In relation to a firefighter, it is very important that they are aware of the potential risks before entering a burning premises or attending the scene of an accident. It is important to note that employees also have a duty of care to both themselves and co-workers to ensure that they do not act in a negligent manner so as to avoid the risk of accidents in the workplace.
Causes of firefighters injuries at work
- Smoke inhalation
- Exposure to hazardous conditions
- Extremely high temperatures
- Lack of training
- Inadequate protective equipment
- Road Traffic Accidents *
- Collapsing buildings
- Falling debris
- Falling from a height
Burns would be one of the most common injuries sustained by firefighters during the course of their job. This includes scalds, contact burns and flame burns. The most common cause of burn would be lack of adequate protective equipment, especially around the facial area. It is important that firefighters are equipped with masks to avoid injuries to the face and to help them breathe if they are in a very smoky environment. If burns are not treated correctly they can become worse over time and cause long-lasting problems.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
RSI is a disorder which causes discomfort in the tendons of the upper body and generally affects the hands, wrists, fingers and elbows. It is caused by carrying out repetitive tasks for a long period of time. While extinguishing a fire, a firefighter may have to use the water house for an extended period of time which may put a strain on them. These can lead to an RSI over time. It is important that there are a number of people on hand to do this so as to avoid the risk of injury.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common illness associated with firefighters. As the work of a firefighter can be traumatic at times it is important that they are checked regularly to determine if they have developed PTSD. This can be caused by some traumatic event in their lives.
Smoke inhalation would be one of the main causes of industrial illness for a firefighter. Smoke can give off toxic fumes which can cause damage to the central nervous and respiratory systems. It is important that treatment is carried out as soon as possible so as to reduce the risk of the illness becoming worse over time. Common illnesses can include Pneumonia, Asphyxia, Oedema and Cerebral Hypoxia.
Whiplash is caused by a sudden jolt of the neck which causes damage to the ligaments. Common symptoms include chronic pain, reduced mobility of the neck and blurred vision. In the case of a firefighter sustaining a whiplash injury, it can be caused by a road traffic accident which may happen while travelling to or from an incident. Whiplash can leave a person unable to work for a period of time.
Breaks and fractures
Breaks and fractures could be minor injuries caused by a hazardous working environment in which firefighters are expected to carry out their job. There could be potential hazards on the ground which may be difficult to see depending on the conditions of the premises. Breaks and fractures would commonly be associated with slip and fall accidents.
Crush injuries *
Crush injuries * would generally be caused by a collapsing roof or building. If something was to fall on a firefighter it may lead to crush injuries especially around the areas of the hands and legs.
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