Many different jobs involve manual handling tasks that could potentially cause injury. Therefore, adequate measures should be put in place to reduce the risks of employees and workers being injured in the workplace. Your safety and welfare in the workplace are not just something employers should strive to protect, it is a legal requirement. As a result, if you sustain injuries at work due to your employer’s negligence, you may be eligible to make a manual handling injury claim for compensation.
If you’re considering starting a claim today, we’ll be able to help. Without any obligation, we will review your case and provide free advice. Should your claim appear to have a reasonable chance of success, we could appoint one of our personal injury solicitors to it. Importantly, our solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service for any manual handling injury claim they take on. We find that that usually reduces a lot of the stress involved with taking legal action.
Table of contents
- Employers’ Obligations In Respect To Manual Handling At Work
- Am I Eligible To Make A Manual Handling Compensation Claim?
- Common Causes Of Manual Handling Accidents At Work
- Common Injuries Caused By Poor Manual Handling
- How Much Compensation Will I Get For A Manual Handling Claim?
- Evidence To Support A Manual Handling Injury Claim
- Manual Handling Claim Time Limit
- Starting The Manual Handling Claims Process
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 is very clear about what an employer’s obligations are in the workplace. The Regulations state that where manual handling is unavoidable, employers must conduct an exhaustive risk assessment in order to identify all potential risks that could result from different activities. Once the risks are identified, employers are legally required to take appropriate steps to minimise those risks.
The Regulations further state that this risk assessment should not be limited to injuries resulting from moving or lifting materials at work. The risk assessment must be all-encompassing and include all risks that could possibly arise from any manual handling activity.
Individual traits of the employees performing any manual handling activities must also be taken into consideration when conducting risk assessments in the workplace. Employers must consider these factors:
- The strength and capability of the individual worker;
- The frequency with which the worker needs to undertake any manual handling activity;
- The size and weight of the items to be moved;
- The distance that any item is to be moved;
- Any rest or break that the worker can avail of.
If manual handling cannot be entirely eliminated, after conducting the risk assessment, employers must take all possible precautionary measures to reduce the risk of injury to workers. As an example of preventing back injuries from lifting at work, these measures would include providing adequate lifting equipment as well as extensive training in the right way to lift and hoist heavy items.
If your employer fails to provide you with the proper equipment and training and if you sustain any manual handling injury at work, the employer may be liable to compensate you for your injuries.
When personal injury solicitors consider a manual handling claim, they need to check whether there are strong enough grounds to claim against the employer. Therefore, before taking on your claim, we will check whether:
- You were owed a duty of care (which is almost always true whilst at work); and
- Your employer’s negligence led to a manual handling accident or incident; and
- You were injured as a result of that accident/incident.
If all of these criteria are true in your case, you could be eligible to claim compensation for a manual handling injury.
Some common examples of how manual handling injuries can happen to employees and agency workers include:
- Where excessively heavy items are stored above shoulder height.
- If your employer doesn’t provide lifting aids to make moving heavy items easier.
- Where you need to move heavy items over a very large area.
- When moving awkwardly shaped items.
Your employer might be negligent if they:
- Don’t provide you with regular rest breaks.
- Fail to train you adequately on how to lift safely.
- Don’t supply safety equipment to protect you while lifting.
- Don’t supply equipment to make moving items in the workplace easier.
Essentially, if your employer fails to assess the risks involved with manual handling or doesn’t implement safety measures where risks have been identified, you could be eligible to start a claim.
Injuries caused by manual handling usually result in damage to soft tissue or joints. Some common types include:
To discuss whether you have grounds to proceed with a manual handling compensation claim, please speak to an advisor today.
The court does not award a set amount of compensation amount for all manual handling claims. Instead, compensation is based on two main heads of loss:
- General damages compensation. This compensation covers the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity your manual handling injuries have caused. Loss of amenity places values on things you used to enjoy but cannot do because of your injuries. For example, if you played football before your injury, but couldn’t during your recovery, this could be considered in your claim.
- Special damages compensation. Used to claim back any losses, costs or expenses relating to your injuries. These could cover any medical costs, travel costs or lost income and future loss of income amongst other things.
To establish the extent of your injuries, you will likely need a medical assessment as part of the claims process. Don’t worry too much about this as our solicitors can usually book local appointments with independent medical experts. To find out what could be claimed for in your case, please call today.
To give you some idea about how much you could be paid for manual handling injuries, we’ve included a compensation calculator in this section. It is based on compensation ranges advised by the Judicial College. These are figures for general damages that solicitors, insurers, and courts can refer to when settling claims.
Remember, though, that a settlement typically won’t just be based on your injuries. As explained in the previous section, the total value of any manual handling compensation claim will include any financial impact too. This could include future lost income if, for example, a back injury in the workplace prevents you from returning to work for a long time.
It’s worth pointing out that settlement amounts can vary on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, please use these amounts as guidance only at this stage. If your claim is taken on, your solicitor will provide a more accurate estimate once they’ve fully considered how you’ve been affected.
Once it’s been determined you’re eligible to claim compensation for your manual handling injury, let’s consider what evidence you could use to support your case.
- Video/photographic evidence. Video or photos of the accident scene should make it easier to explain what happened. Where possible, try to take pictures before anything is removed or repaired.
- Witness statements. If anybody else was present when your manual handling accident happened, ask them if they can provide their contact details to your solicitor. They could be contacted later on for a statement if your employer doesn’t admit liability for your injuries.
- Accident reports. It is a legal requirement for employers to record and report accidents in the workplace. Your copy of the report will make it difficult for your employer’s insurers to deny when and where the accident took place.
- Medical reports. If you are injured at work, you should attend A&E or a minor injuries unit as soon as possible. Your injuries will then be assessed and treated by medical professionals. Later on, you could ask them for a copy of the medical records which could be used as evidence of your injuries.
- CCTV footage. If your workplace uses security cameras, you could request a copy of any recordings of your accident. This is something you should do quickly as recordings aren’t always retained for long.
The next thing you might want to do is discuss your evidence with one of our advisors. They’ll review everything with you and explain whether you have the grounds to start a manual handling injury compensation claim.
As with all work accident claims, manual handling injuries need to be made within the claim time limits. This is a 3-year period. This will either begin from the date of an accident at work, or from your date of knowledge.
The date of knowledge is important in cases where your injuries take many months or even years to develop. For example, if you were required to move heavy loads for a long time but damage to your back does not get linked to your injuries by a doctor until years later, your time limit would begin from the date the doctor confirmed the link.
Our suggestion is that you should begin your manual handling claim as early as possible. This will allow plenty of time to gather evidence in your case. It could also mean that, if your employer admits liability, your solicitor could ask them to pay for private medical treatment before the claim is fully settled.
Please call today if you’re ready to begin a manual handling injury compensation claim.
It is important to note that you cannot legally be demoted, dismissed, or singled out by your employer because you claim compensation from them. If that were to happen, one of our solicitors could also represent you in an unfair or constructive dismissal claim.
For manual handling claims that are accepted, our solicitors try to do everything for you. They’ll deal with your employer’s insurers so that you don’t need to answer any complex questions. They’ll also fight hard to try and ensure you are compensated fully. Where a settlement offer is received, it won’t be immediately accepted so that the solicitor can say the case has been won. Instead, they will check that the amount offered fully covers the suffering you’ve endured. If it doesn’t they’ll use extra evidence to fight your corner and try to negotiate a fair amount of compensation.
If you’d like to check whether one of our solicitors could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis, please call us on 0800 6524 881 today. Remember, you’ll receive free legal advice whether you decide to start the manual handling claims process or not.