Workplace Injuries & Injury Awareness Week - Thompson & Co

Workplace Injuries and Injury Awareness Week

Monday 24th June marks the start of Injury Awareness Week, with the spotlight being shone this year on workplace injuries. According to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Labour Force Survey, 560,000 people suffered injuries at work last year, 50 years on from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 being given Royal Assent and passing into law.

Whilst the workplace has got much safer in the past 50 years, there’s still more that can be done to prevent injuries in the workplace, whether it’s a factory, warehouse, office, salon or any other place of work. The introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was a turning point for industry in the country, as it set out the responsibilities employers now had to their staff, as well as the responsibilities employees have towards one another.

The act also meant your employer has to identify anything which might cause harm and take action to stop it or reduce the levels of risk. They should also listen to your concerns and give you proper training and equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition to this, an employee should also cooperate with their employer, which includes following the training and taking reasonable care.

By following health and safety law, there are two big benefits: not only will you reduce the risk of someone being harmed, but you’ll prevent yourself from being found negligent.

Injury Awareness Week is an annual event run by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), who are a non-profit organisation committed to helping injured people. The vision of APIL is a future “without needless injuries”. APIL concede that “accidents cannot be prevented, but injuries caused by negligence can and should be avoided”.

Since the Act’s introduction 50 years ago, workplace deaths have fallen by 85% in that time, according to the HSE. However, with over 560,000 suffering workplace injuries – a quarter of which keep the injured person off work for at least seven days – there’s still more to be done to prevent serious injuries at work. Despite the number of injuries and illnesses suffered at work, the latest data suggests that in 2022/23, just five per cent of those people injured at work made a claim for compensation. This is down from fourteen per cent in 2018/19.

At Thompson & Co, we’re experts when it comes to personal injury claims, especially relating to workplace injuries. Our solicitors are members of APIL. We understand that accidents at work can have far-reaching implications for both the injured person and their family. We act for clients in relation to anything from soft tissue injuries all the way up to serious life-changing injuries such as amputations, paralysis or deaths caused by accidents at work and will seek to recover compensation for not only the injuries suffered but also any losses associated with the injuries.

This can include past and future loss of earnings, treatment or rehabilitation costs, personal care and households assistance provided by friends, family or others, medication costs, the costs of travel to and from medical appointments. We have been providing specialist advice to members of the public for almost 30 years, so we understand the importance of Injury Awareness Week and safety at work, and the damaging effects negligence in the workplace can have.

APIL chief executive Mike Benner says, “APIL members have many stories about people they have represented who went to work and did not make it home unscathed. Some are the stuff of nightmares. We have heard of people crushed by rubble, or losing limbs, or becoming seriously ill because of exposure to asbestos. […] Going to work in the UK has got safer in 50 years, but we should never, ever, take our eyes off the ball.

He adds, “There have been occasional attempts by governments over the years to weaken the responsibilities employers and employees alike have to each other, in an obsession with cutting so-called ‘red tape’. Buzz phrases like that are very unhelpful as they feed myths and misleading perceptions. How can the protection of life and limb be dismissed as ‘red tape’? A society which values its workforce should have a solid system for reporting injuries and for holding wrongdoers to account, not least so that further needless injuries are not repeated.”