Your employer owes you a duty of care. The duty is to do all he reasonably can to keep you safe whilst you do the job you are paid to do. If your employer breaches his duty of care to you and as a consequence you suffer injury or become ill, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against him for the loss and damage you suffer as a result of the accident.
You may have an accident at work that is entirely your fault, and if that’s the case, you won’t be able to claim. For example, if an experienced forklift truck driver drives his machine too quickly around a shopfloor and as a result loses control and hits a stack of shelves, injuring himself in the process, then it’s likely that the accident was the forklift driver’s fault and the driver wouldn’t be able to claim successfully.
However, there are situations where it isn’t entirely clear who was at fault for an accident at work. For instance, let us use as an example a similar incident to the one described in the paragraph above, with the same results. Only this time, the person tasked with driving the vehicle has had insufficient basic training, specific job training or familiarisation training to operate the vehicle safely. Is this inexperienced driver at fault for the forklift truck accident?
He may believe he is. However, in addition to the employer owing his employees a general duty of care to do all he reasonably can to keep them safe in their work, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) require employers to make sure that all employees who use, manage or supervise the use of work equipment, receive adequate training.
If this employee has not yet been adequately trained at the time the accident occurred, who is responsible for the accident? Every case turns on its individual circumstances but there is every chance a court would hold the employer entirely responsible for the accident and for the injuries the employee has suffered on the basis:
- The employer was in breach of the duty of care he owed to his worker, and
- The employer is in breach of his obligations under PUWER to make sure the employee has received adequate training to drive the forklift truck.
Some accidents at work that might, at first sight, appear to be the fault of the employee may, in fact be:
- Entirely the fault of the employer
- Cases where the doctrine of split liability occurs i.e., where both employer and employee bear some responsibility for the accident. Some accidents at work claims may be settled 50/50 where both worker and employer share equal responsibility for the accident. Other cases may be split 75/25 or 25/75, with either employer or employee bearing a larger share of fault for the accident, depending on the circumstances.
If you’ve been injured in an accident at work, it is always advisable to seek legal advice from specialist accident at work claims solicitors like Mooneerams. Getting advice on whether you have a claim won’t cost you anything. Call Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 or contact us via our website.