Manual Handling And Lifting Accidents
Accidents involving lifting – or manual handling, as it is often called – are one of the most common causes of injuries in the workplace.
While some accidents result in immediate and major injuries, many other lifting incidents are dismissed as minor at the time they happen. However, such small problems can develop into serious health issues over time, particularly if they occur repeatedly due to poor manual handling practice.
Most lifting at work accidents are avoidable, if the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) are correctly implemented. The Regulations require employers to take steps to ensure all lifting, carrying, lowering, pushing and pulling is carried out safely.
The MHOR state that hazardous manual handling is avoided whenever possible and that risk assessments must be carried out on any necessary lifting work. Employers must also implement measures to reduce the risk of injury and ensure that potentially hazardous loads are labelled with weight information.
While the Regulations were designed with job roles that involve regular heavy lifting in mind, they apply to all types of manual handling in the workplace. This includes things you may not necessarily think of as lifting, such as stretching for boxes on top of filing cabinets and shifting items that have been left on a desk or table.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of MHOR not being correctly implemented by your employer, Liddy’s Solicitors may be able to help you make a successful personal injury compensation claim.
Causes of lifting at work accidents
There are many different sets of circumstances that lead to lifting at work accidents, although they are much more common in environments where the work is physically demanding, such as manufacturing, construction and agriculture.
Injuries can be caused by lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling heavy items, particularly if the process involves an awkward posture. This type of manual handling may also increase the risk of exacerbating an existing medical condition or of a previous injury reoccuring, if not done properly.
Another regular cause of manual handling injuries is items being moved in a way that makes it difficult for the people undertaking the work to see where they are going. This can result in people carrying large items tripping or falling, particularly on staircases.
There are also a variety of seemingly insignificant tasks that can result in injuries if they are not done properly, including moving relatively small items in an office or kitchen, handling inbound deliveries and reaching for items on the floor or that are stored high up.
If you suffer an injury carrying out any kind of lifting or other manual handling task in the workplace, Liddy’s Solicitors may be able to help you to claim compensation from your employer.
Types of injury caused by lifting at work accidents
Back injuries are the problems most often linked to accidents involving lifting at work, but they are far from the only type of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) caused by manual handling incidents.
Injuries to the back resulting from unsafe lifting include sprains, torn ligaments, pulled muscles and fractured vertebrae, all of which can lead to anything from temporary discomfort to chronic long-term pain and even restricted movement. Back problems may be caused by a single incident of twisting or poor lifting technique, or develop over a period of time due to repeated incidents.
Unsafe manual handling can also lead to a range of upper limb disorders (ULDs), with neck, shoulder, wrist, arm and hand injuries all commonplace. Conditions include immediate problems such as breaks and sprains, along with repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) where there is pain without any specific symptoms.
Lower limb disorders (LLDs) are a less common consequence of dangerous lifting, but there have been cases of broken legs, ankles and feet or osteoarthritis of the knee or hip linked to manual handling. Hazardous lifting and carrying at work can also lead to hernias and muscular problems.
If you have suffered any of these types of injuries at work and the accident that led to them could have been avoided by your employer, Liddy’s Solicitors may be able to help you secure a compensation payment.
Can I claim compensation for injuries suffered in a lifting at work accident?
Employers have a legal duty to keep their staff safe in the workplace and the MHOR clearly set out how they should do this in relation to lifting and carrying. If you are injured as a result of your employer failing to follow the Regulations, you are likely to have a strong case to claim compensation.
Your employer should take steps to minimise the amount of lifting without appropriate equipment, and complete risk assessments for tasks that cannot be completed without manual handling. The risk assessment should include an evaluation of whether you have the ability to complete heavy lifting and carrying, taking into account existing and past medical conditions.
Employers should also provide suitable lifting equipment where needed, train workers in safe manual handling techniques and ensure that sufficient manpower is provided for lifting and carrying jobs. The work should also be properly supervised.
If you suffered an injury while undertaking a lifting task that you had not been trained for or that should have been completed using specialist equipment, you are likely to be well placed to make a personal injury compensation claim. However, the law also states that employees have a responsibility to take “reasonable care” of themselves in the workplace. So, it will be more difficult to make a successful claim if you failed to follow your employer’s safety guidelines or decided not to use any lifting or safety equipment provided.
The issue of fault is central to any accident at work claim, but it can be difficult for those unfamiliar with the law to prove which party is to blame for an injury. The personal injury team at Liddy’s Solicitors have vast experience of this type of compensation claim and can help you to establish who was at fault for your accident. We will also help you with other aspects of building a strong case, such as organising relevant expert medical assessments and handling all the paperwork.
If you are in a position to make a claim, you may be able to secure compensation for physical and mental injuries, together with money to cover the cost of ongoing medical treatment and care. You may also receive payments for loss of income, both due to time off work related directly to the accident and to any damage to your future job prospects.
How to make a lifting at work accident compensation claim
The first step towards making a successful lifting at work accident compensation claim is to consult a specialist personal injury solicitor.
Liddy’s is one of Yorkshire’s leading firms of personal injury solicitors and has helped many people to claim compensation from their employers for injuries suffered in accidents at work.
We realise that the prospect of taking legal action against an employer is daunting, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the law, and will do everything to make it as stress-free as possible.
Our team will guide you through every stage of the process from the first consultation to negotiating a settlement or, if necessary, taking Court action, and ensure everything is explained to you in clear language rather than legal jargon.
For an initial discussion about your lifting at work accident compensation claim, complete the ‘How Can We Help You?’ form on the left of the page, call us at our Wakefield office on 01924 780753 or contact our Barnsley office on 01226 731314.