It’s that time of year again when employers begin to recruit seasonal staff to cover the busy Christmas and New Year period.
In particular, large-scale dispatch centres operated by the likes of Amazon and Hermes will be taking on additional staff to cope with the increased demand in the run-up to Christmas as people order presents for, and send packages to, friends and relatives. If you live close to a large dispatch centre or warehouse, you may have seen adverts in your local area looking for warehouse operatives, delivery drivers and the like.
While there are differences between the range of employment rights granted to full-time employees of a company depending upon their length of service and those granted to temporary seasonal staff, industrial and workplace safety legislation, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act, protect everyone in a workplace regardless of their employment status. Put simply, it is against the law for your employer not to follow the legislation. Ignorance of their obligations towards employees is not an excuse.
Therefore, when employers take on additional staff to cover seasonal demand during busy periods, it is imperative they ensure these temporary staff members still receive full training on any machinery that may need to be used as part of the role and are fully aware of all workplace health and safety processes.
Working in warehouse and factory environments can be particularly dangerous and fraught with potential health and safety hazards – these workplaces can be noisy, feature-heavy industrial machinery and can be fast-paced, with multiple people moving around, some of which may be driving fork-lift trucks too.
Typical examples of industrial injuries can include:
- Electric shock
- Eye injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Fractured bones and dislocated joints
- Back and spinal damage
- Muscle strain
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falls from height
- Exposure to dangerous substances
- Chemical burns
While it is your responsibility to ensure you operate any machinery as you have been trained and in a safe and responsible manner, it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure you have received that training, fully understand it and are capable of carrying out your tasks as trained.
Therefore, if you do suffer an industrial injury while employed in a seasonal role, and it can be shown that your employer has failed in their responsibilities, you may be entitled to compensation.
Specifically, industrial injury claims are a specialist area of personal injury law. It should also be said that the damage sustained from an industrial injury may not be clear until years after. For example, the development of industrial deafness or an asbestos-related disease can take a long time to become apparent.
At The Compensation Experts, we work with specialist legal firms who have a proven track record in successful industrial injury compensation claims. After your initial free consultation with our advisors, we will match you with the firm who best suits the circumstances of your case. As a part of this, we will also obtain medical and industry expert reports if needed to help advise you on the strength of your case. If you do then decide to progress your case, your solicitor will collect any evidence and may contact any witnesses to help build the strongest possible case to support your industrial injury claim. This evidence will be used not only to prove your entitlement to compensation but also to show the extent of your physical, emotional and financial suffering to ensure the amount you receive is fair.
Once they have looked through your claim request and carried out their investigation, your employer’s insurance company will either make an offer of compensation or will deny liability. Please be aware that offers at this stage are usually low compared to the results of other claims that have been settled recently. The solicitor’s role is to advise you how good the offer is and if you choose not to accept it, negotiate with the other side to find a level of compensation you consider acceptable.
Compensation amounts are not plucked out of thin air. They are calculated by looking at General and Special Damages. General Damages account for the physical or, in the case of workplace stress, psychological trauma you have suffered, including your prognosis for recovery. Additionally, they will also include the wages you have lost while recovering from an injury. Special Damages, meanwhile, account for any financial expense caused by your accident. This can include paying for prescriptions, obtaining reasonable private medical care and the cost of any additional nursing or care support you have needed. You will need to prove that you have incurred all of these costs too, so make sure you keep all your receipts. If you are not sure whether an expense is covered under Special Damages, ask your solicitor before spending the money. In addition, Special Damages may include compensation for future lost earnings if the injury you have suffered is so severe you are unable to continue working in the same role.
With the right legal support, the vast majority of industrial compensation claims are resolved without the need to go to court, saving you both money and time. If your employer refuses to accept liability or you can’t agree on an acceptable amount of compensation, the solicitor may recommend you submit your claim to court. This action needs to be taken within three years of the date of the injury being suffered or when your symptoms were linked to your job. Negotiations will continue even when a court date has been set, and it is not uncommon for an agreement to be reached hours before a claim is due to be heard in court.
According to the latest figures for 2018/19 released by the Health and Safety Executive earlier this month, 1.4 million working people in the UK are suffering from a work-related illness, with 69,208 injuries to employees being reported in the last year. Clearly then, workplace accidents and industrial injuries are unfortunately far more commonplace than they should be. Because of this, we and the legal firms we work with have a lot of experience in these cases and so, are well-placed to help you get the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.