Although the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 are mostly directed at the duties and obligation placed on employers, they also impose a number of duties on employees.
These are mostly common sense obligations, requiring employees to take a reasonable level of responsibility for their own safety. For example, as an employee you must do all of the following:
- You must follow the systems of work laid down for your own safety. So, if there is a system of lifting with a partner then you should not try and lift the items yourself. If nobody else is available to assist, you should wait until they are available.
- You are under a duty to make proper use of equipment provided for your safety. If there is a system of lifting using a hoist, you should not try and lift the object manually. If there are lifting aids available, they should be used, even it means that the job will take longer.
- You must co-operate with your employer on health and safety matters.
- If you come across a situation where you have to lift something in an unsafe manner you must let your employer know. You must also inform your employer if you identify any hazardous lifting activities.
- When engaging in lifting activities you must take care to ensure that your activities do not put others at risk.
Partial liability for an injury
So, for example, if you work in a food processing factory and it is known that two people are required to safely lift a certain type of package, you are likely to be found at least partly to blame if you are injured after deciding to try to move the package by yourself.
While such an action may affect the amount of compensation you're entitled to, you should not let the thought of partial liability prevent you from making a claim. It still may be that some blame lies with your employer, particularly if you were asked to move the package and no assistance was offered.
You may be worried that your employer will try to lay all the blame on you, but there is a difficult legal test that must be met before you can be considered totally at fault. Your employer must prove that your actions amounted to negligence. If they are able to do this, then it will be up to the courts to decide your percentage of liability. Your award will then be split in accordance with this percentage.
So, if it is determined that the accident was 50 per cent your fault, then you will receive half of the total damages you would otherwise be entitled to.
Manual handling claim solicitors
Manual handling compensation claims can occasionally be complex, and expert advice is essential from the outset. To talk to an expert about making an accident at work claim following a manual handling injury, call 0800 0891331 or try when one of the contact options at the bottom of this page.
Thompsons has won many awards and recognitions for its outstanding personal injury work and has long been recognised as one the leading firms in Scotland – we can help you begin the journey to justice, today.