Your employer owes you as their employee a duty of care to make sure that you are safe whilst at work. But the workplace can be a dangerous place if your employer does not practice health and safety.
Here are some examples of how things can go wrong and causes injuries if your employer does not make sure they have the correct health and safety measures in place.
Depending on the type of job you do you may need specific personal protective equipment, this is to protect you from sustaining an injury whilst carrying out your work.
Mr A was employed as a kitchen staff and he was responsible for frying foods in hot oil. Unfortunately as Mr A was not given any protective equipment, for example gloves or overalls, whilst cooking the oil exploded splashing Mr A with oil and causing burns to his hands resulting in scars. Had the employers provided Mr A with the relevant protective equipment he would not have sustained these injuries.
Mr X was employed to remove debris and rubbish from a site where the home owner was renovating their home, and as he tried to move a bag of debris by placing it into the back of his pickup truck the contents of the bag, which was made up of plaster and broken ceramic tiles, cut through the bag and unfortunately cut Mr X’s forearm and damaged the nerves in his forearm. Despite emergency surgery and many years of rehabilitative treatment Mr X was left with serious life-long debilitating injuries, he no longer had manual grip strength in his hand and felt constant pain in his forearm. He would not be able to carry out any manual work or continue his hobby of building antique cars. Had the employer provided Mr X with protective equipment Mr X would not have suffered such serious life-changing injuries.
Your employer has a duty to make sure the work place is safe for you and other employees.
In this example the employer did not carry out the relevant risk assessments to make sure that the employee Mr Y was safe whilst he carried out his duties. Mr Y was a hospital housekeeping foreman and his job involved him moving large heavy carts of laundry within the hospital environment by himself. Mr Y’s employers decided to relocate the laundry area and had failed to risk assessment the new location to make sure it was safe and adequate for Mr Y to move the large carts in and out. The location was not safe as the wooden ramp that served the entrance had was no longer level with the ground of the laundry room due to wear and tear. Mr Y would have to pull the cart onto the ramp and then over a raised ledge in order to get it into the laundry room. As Mr Y tried to pull the cart over the raised ledge the wheel caught the raised ledge and caused Mr Y to jerk his knee and fall forwards causing him an injury.
Had Mr Y’s employers risk assessed the new laundry room they would have noticed that the wooden ramp would need replacing so that it was level with the ground of the laundry room. It was only after Mr Y had made a claim against his employers that they decided to replace the wooden ramp with a metal one.
In another example, Mrs Z was mental health nurse at a mental health hospital. Whilst she was looking after a patient another patient who was known to be quite aggressive suddenly attacked Mrs Z. She sustained injuries to her head and cuts to her face. The employer was aware of the aggressive nature of this particular patient and should have taken steps to make sure that Mrs Z and others were not at risk of harm from this patient. Just because one works in an environment where there is a risk of injury from others it does not mean you agree to suffer those injuries.