Being crushed by an enormous vehicle, blown up, drowned, buried under a collapsing vertical or overhanging face, falling from height, being electrocuted or slipping or tripping are just some of the possible ways you can die or become injured in the course of employment in the mining and quarrying industries. The nature of those accidents might appear somewhat dramatic, and perhaps it is tempting to conclude that they occurred due to the unpredictable nature of the environments in which such work is undertaken, where seemingly with the best health and safety will in the world, it is impossible to completely remove the risk of injury to workers – except that that isn’t actually the case.
Most accidents and the injuries suffered as a result can be traced back to failures on the part of employers, for whatever reason, to adequately control risk. In such circumstances an injured employee or the family of an employee killed in a workplace accident might be able to make an injury compensation claim. They could make a claim against a manager, the company or a fellow employee whose negligent or careless behaviour could be demonstrated to have been the cause of the accident in question.
A workplace injury is, of course, exceptionally bad news for the victim for whom it might be a life-changing event or at the very least result in considerable pain and suffering. However, and especially if it results in compensation being paid to the injured employee or the Health and Safety becoming involved [especially if it involves a criminal prosecution by the HSE], it might prove to be an exceptionally effective, if unplanned, wake-up call to the business. This might result in the business deciding to seriously revisit its engagement with health and safety in general, including analysing its own data on accidents and injuries, and also to specifically and urgently addressing the failings in risk management that led to a specific accident occurring. If a business has suffered a spate of injuries to employers and consequent claims for compensation the ‘wake-up call’ effect is usually amplified.
Over and above avoiding other employees being injured in future, another incentive for employers to get their health and safety act together is avoiding the collateral damage a poor health and safety track record can do to recruitment, retention and the public image of a company. Really bad media coverage following one or more serious accidents could prove disastrous for some businesses. That might sound somewhat cold-hearted but in the realm of employee health and safety, the end always justifies the means, i.e. it doesn’t matter what the employer’s motivation is in improving the health and safety of their employees as long as improvements are made, lives saved and other injuries avoided as a result.
Tim Bishop is senior partner of Bonallack and Bishop, specialist medical negligence and compensation claim solicitors. For specialist legal advice on claiming compensation, call their team directly on 01722 422300 . Alternatively, for more information, visit their specialist website at http://www.how-to-claim-compensation.co.uk.