Solicitors specialising in industrial injury and disease claims fully understand the harm that such work related conditions can have on the worker and business involved.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, an estimated 591,000 employees had an accident at work in 2011/12, with 156,000 being absent for over 7 days; these figures have continued to drop year on year. Recent HSE data also shows that 148 fatal injuries occurred between April 2012 and March 2013, lower than the 172 people from the previous year.
While there has been a decline in the number of people falling victim to industrial injuries, the figures show that a considerable number are still getting harmed as they go about their job.
What is the impact on workers?
The HSE statistics indicate the severe impact that industrial injuries can have on the health of an employee, leading to extended periods off work and even unemployment.
An accident can cause temporary or long term harm to a person, while an industrial disease stemming from exposure to harmful chemicals can cause permanent problems. This in turn can impact on a person’s quality of life, as they can be left unable to function normally, suffering from frequent pain and incapable of working in the future.
Employees who suffer from a work-related injuries and diseases are therefore able to pursue compensation claims against the liable party to help with financial and medical setbacks they suffer.
How do businesses suffer?
When an employee has an industrial disease or injury, this can also severely damage the business responsible.
Being involved in such a claim can lead to increased insurance premiums, wasted man hours and also a dented business reputation. Meanwhile, work re-organisation and temporary staff also have to be considered if the employee is off work for a long period or unable to work in the future. If conditions are unsafe and risky, this can also result in hefty fines, further injuries and dissatisfaction among employees.
Therefore, it is always in a business’ best interests to properly risk assess a work environment to control or reduce any potential hazards. For example, construction businesses should make sure that protective equipment is used to prevent noise induced hearing loss and occupational asthma symptoms in workers, while they should implement equipment training to reduce the risk of accident and injuries.
There is also an impact on society
While employees and employers are likely to see the direct effect of an industrial disease or injury and the subsequent claim, there are also certain consequences that society has to face, including industrial injuries disablement benefits payments, administrative tasks and NHS treatments.
As a result of the damage that industrial injuries and diseases can have on individuals as well as businesses and society in general, it is imperative that companies work hard to establish strong health and safety procedures to protect themselves and their employees, and keep such problems to a minimum.
Health and Safety Executive