Manual Handling Accident Claims

Manual handling injuries are common in the workplace, particularly for those who are lifting heavy objects. First4Lawyers can help if you’ve been injured due to your work.

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Manual handling injuries can take place in any workplace. If you have been injured while lifting or carrying an object at work, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Manual handling injuries at work

Injuries caused by manual handling can be long-lasting and extremely painful. They can make working difficult, which can then affect your general life.

When it comes to accidents at work, manual handling accounted for 20% of them in 2018/19, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

In the majority of cases, manual handling accidents will cause back injuries. However, they can also result in other types of injuries, including muscle strains, sprains and even bone fractures. You might also suffer from repetitive strain injury, cuts and bruises or neck pain.

These types of accidents could happen when you lift something that is too heavy or you carry out repeated lifting – even of small loads – over a period of time without the right posture or technique. You might also hurt yourself by reaching for something that is too high or far away or by carrying an object.

Who is responsible for a manual handling injury?

When manual handling, lifting or carrying is required as part of your job, your employer is required to make sure it is done as safely as possible.

Employers are legally obliged to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk that manual handling presents to employees. This is set out in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

They should consider any training requirements on the use of equipment and manual handling techniques, how many people are needed to lift the load and whether machinery would be required. They should also question whether manual handling could be avoided completely.

If you were not given the appropriate training to be able to carry out manual handling duties properly or no risk assessment was carried out, your employer could be held accountable for your injury.

Who is most at risk of a manual handling injury?

Some professions involve more manual handling than others. This means that workers in those fields are more likely to suffer an injury caused by manual handling than others.

Workers more at risk include:

  • Care workers

For many professional carers, lifting people is an everyday task. In many cases, carers will have to lift people out of bed into wheelchairs or help people who have fallen to get back up. Having to lift and manoeuvre people can cause carers to suffer various injuries.

  • Factory workers

Transporting goods around factories can mean a lot of factory workers are at risk of manual handling injuries. Although machinery and vehicles are commonly used for transport in factories, employees frequently load them up, putting them at risk.

  • Retail workers

Many retail workers have to lift significant loads as part of their jobs, particularly those that work in the storage area of shops. Roll cages are a common piece of equipment in the retail industry – but loading and moving them can cause many injuries.

  • Warehouse workers

Warehouse workers are particularly at risk of a manual handling injury. They work in an environment that is designed to store objects – sometimes particularly large ones. Although machinery and vehicles are used often in warehouses, employees often have to carry out the physical lifting of these loads.

  • Construction workers

In the construction industry, there is a wide variety of load types that require manual handling – from machinery and heavy equipment to rubble and building materials. It is perhaps not surprising that construction has the second highest number of non-fatal injuries in the UK, according to the HSE.

What safety measures should my employers have for manual handling?

Employers have a legal obligation under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to employees from the manual handling of loads.

Having done a risk assessment to identify possible hazards, your employer should consider factors such as:

  • Training requirements on the use of equipment and manual handling techniques for lifting and moving objects.
  • Can manual handling be avoided completely?
  • Can any assistive machinery, such as hoists or conveyor belts, be used to help lift heavy loads?
  • Can large loads be split down?
  • How many people are needed to lift the required amount?
  • Can changes be made to the environment, to avoid unnecessary risk?

How to prevent manual handling injuries

Your employer should ensure it is carrying out the necessary risk assessments before you or your colleagues carry out any manual handling duties. They should also try to make use of vehicles and other equipment to move goods around the workplace.

If you don’t think you’ve received the right training to carry out manual handling in the right way, speak to your employer. Inform them that you know your rights and you know they are required to show you the right way of lifting something, as well as conduct a sufficient risk assessment around manual handling.

Working together with your employer is often the best way of preventing manual handling injuries in the workplace.

Why should I make a manual handling injury claim?

When you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and could have been prevented by your employer acting more responsibly, you are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve been through.

You may also have to take some time off work to recover, which could have an impact on your finances. A compensation claim could help you cover your bills while you get back on your feet.

In some cases, your employer may not have been aware that work was not being carried out to a good standard. By making a claim, you could help alert them to the fact that things have gone wrong.

This can help them to address the problem and ensure that no one else suffers the same injury you did.

Making a manual handling injury claim

Employers are required to have certain insurance policies in place. As soon as a company or individual becomes an employer, they must get Employer’s Liability insurance. This is there to cover them in case an accident happens in the workplace.

It is this insurance policy that you will claim against – not your employer directly. This could help to reassure you if you were feeling anxious about claiming against your employer.

You should also remember that a company is not allowed to end your employment if you make a personal injury claim against them. If they do, they open themselves up to further legal action.

How long after a manual handling injury can I make a claim?

In most cases, you will have three years from the date of your accident to make a claim. Although this sounds like a long time, it can disappear before you know so it’s always best to begin a claim as soon as possible.

Starting the process can make it easier to get hold of key evidence from your employer, such as CCTV and your work accident book. Your solicitor may also find it more straightforward to access your medical records the sooner you start your claim.

How much compensation will I receive?

Your situation is unique. It means that without a consultation, it would be difficult to say exactly what you might be entitled to.

For an idea of what you might be awarded for a successful claim, however, visit our compensation calculator. But any compensation you do receive will be based on your specific injury and how it has affected you.

For more information, just give us a call, request a call back or start your claim online now.

Our compassionate and understanding claims advisors will help you work through your options and decide on the right next steps for you.

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