Workplace injuries present one of the leading areas of personal injury compensation claims. When an employee is injured at work due to negligence or unsafe conditions, they may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and other related damages.
Slips, trips and falls at work are common instances that can, unfortunately, lead to both minor and significant injuries that can leave an employee unable to continue working and unable to carry out their usual daily activities.
Legislation exists that aims to ensure employers take appropriate steps to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace, as employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe working environment. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 outlines the appropriate guidelines and measures employers should take “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.”
If you have suffered an injury due to a slip, trip or fall at work, then you may be entitled to claim compensation. Our member firms at Major Trauma Group are highly experienced and knowledgeable on the topic of workplace injuries and can effectively assist and advocate for our client’s best interests.
Not only do we negotiate the most appropriate financial settlement for your sustained injuries, but we will also ensure any rehabilitation needs are met to make certain you are in the best position to make a full recovery and regain full quality of life.
What are the common causes of slips, trips and falls at work?
There are many instances in which slips, trips and falls at work can happen; some of the more common causes include the following:
- Wet or Slippery Surfaces: Spills, wet floors, freshly cleaned surfaces, or floors exposed to rain or snow can make surfaces unsafe and increase the risk of slips.
- Poor Housekeeping: Cluttered or obstructed walkways, loose cables or cords, and objects left in the path of travel can lead to trips and falls.
- Uneven or Damaged Surfaces: Uneven flooring, damaged tiles, potholes, loose carpeting, or cracks in pavements can cause accidents.
- Inadequate Lighting: Insufficient lighting in work areas, stairwells, hallways, or outdoor spaces can hinder visibility and increase the risk of accidents.
- Improper Use of Ladders and Equipment: Falls from ladders, scaffolds, or elevated platforms can occur due to improper use, lack of training, or using faulty equipment.
- Lack of Warning Signs: Failure to provide proper signage or warnings for potential hazards, such as wet floors or construction areas, can increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls.
- Inadequate Safety Measures: Insufficient safety measures, such as missing handrails or guardrails, lack of non-slip mats, or poorly maintained staircases, can contribute to falls.
How can slips, trips and falls be prevented?
It’s essential for employers and employees to work together to create a safe work environment by implementing preventive measures, raising awareness, and promptly addressing any hazards or potential risks that could lead to slips, trips, and falls.
A simple approach to addressing issues as and when they come to light can prevent accidents without impacting business costs or business activities; this can be as simple as cleaning up any wet surfaces or spills as soon as they occur. In addition, carrying out regular risk assessments that can identify any potential safety concerns before they become a problem, such as ensuring surfaces, floors and lighting are in good condition, can all reduce the risk of an accident occurring.
Injuries that result from slips, trips and falls
It is often assumed that injuries that result from slips, trips and falls are most often minor injuries such as:
- Sprains and fractures
- Ligament damage
- Cuts and bruises
While this can be the case, we also see a variety of more severe injuries deriving from falls and trips. Understandably, someone falling from a height is more likely to suffer severe injuries than someone tripping over an object on the floor; however, many slips, trips and falls can result in blows to the head, and any impact on the head can cause a traumatic brain injury.
Head injuries can range from mild concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and such injuries can have long-term effects on cognitive abilities, memory, and overall brain function.
It is important for employers and healthcare providers not to overlook or dismiss a potential brain injury, as they are not as obviously apparent as other physical injuries someone might suffer in an accident, as exemplified in the below case.
Case Study – a slip at work
An employee at a supermarket dealing with deliveries slipped in the yard on a grate/gutter, which was constantly getting clogged and resulted in a pool of mud collecting. Consequently, he slipped and hit his head on the ground. At the hospital, the man was not provided with a scan of his head and had his cut cleaned and glued and was later discharged home with advice surrounding head injuries.
Later that day, at his home, the employee started to feel sick and was experiencing photophobia (an abnormal sensitivity to light). He was taken back to the hospital via ambulance and had a scan of his head which revealed a bleed on the brain.
The initial advice was for him to be admitted and monitored at the hospital; however, his GCS score dramatically dropped from 15/15 to 5/15, which resulted in him being transferred to a specialist hospital for emergency surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was not successful, and a decision was later made to turn off his life support.
It is relevant to note that during the coroner’s inquest, evidence was found that the grate the employee slipped on was something that happened frequently, and the employer had not found a solution to prevent more accidents from occurring, emphasising the importance of employers addressing issues before a serious accident takes place.
The significance of this case is how a seemingly innocuous fall and a “minor bang” to the head can sometimes have catastrophic consequences.
How can Major Trauma Group assist?
Our member firms at MTG work tirelessly to ensure the best outcomes for their clients, always advocating for their best interests. If you have had a slip, trip or fall at work and have suffered an injury as a consequence, then our lawyers are highly capable of assisting you with your case.
We can work on a no-win, no-fee basis to secure appropriate financial compensation and expert rehabilitation treatment using our expertise in this area of the law. If you have any queries surrounding any of our services, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.