The Telegraph’s legal expert, Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors is an expert at winning compensation for clients in personal injury cases. This week he looks at Health and Safety legislation and gives an example of how employees can win compensation if they are put at risk.
Don’t believe all the negative publicity you hear about Health and Safety legislation, especially the urban myths that it has led to blanket bans on kids throwing snowballs or playing conkers in the playground.
Health and Safety laws place a heavy responsibility on employers to ensure the safety of their employees. There is also a duty to prevent workers from working at height, or if this is not possible, to ensure that working at height is as safe as possible.
Employers face heavy penalties if they fail to meet these obligations and employees can win damages if their employer puts them at risk.
Let me give you just one example from my files concerning a client who had an accident at work while unloading new cars from a locomotive transporter.
He had to climb down from the transporter because one of the cars wouldn’t start, but there were no steps or handrails and he fell and broke his leg.
At first the employers refused to pay compensation because they said that they had done nothing wrong.
But the Work at Height Regulations 2006 state that an employer should not ask a person to work at height unless it is necessary and if so then they should do everything they can to make it as safe as possible.
We carried out research into the designs of rail locomotives which led us to the conclusion that there was a great deal that the employers could and should have done, in design terms, to ensure that their employee was not exposed to the risk of injury.
Our research convinced the insurers to make payment to our client of £35,000 in compensation.