There is copious legislation in force that protect an employees legal right to health and safety at work which if breached will give a workers compensation solicitor the right to issue legal proceedings on behalf of an employee claiming damages for personal injury suffered in an accident at work. Some of the legislation is specific to certain industries however most of the legislation is of a general nature and will cover all places of work in almost every industry.
Probably the most important legislation which is frequently used by a workers compensation solicitor underlines the legal responsibility of an employer to guarantee that the place of work, including all the tools, equipment and systems of work that are used are safe and do not place employees at unacceptable risk. Any employee injured as a result of an employer failing to comply with these regulations can take legal action for compensation in an accident at work claim.
There are numerous regulations relating to safety, breach of which can give rise to an accident at work claim in Australia. As general examples an employee must not be exposed to dangerous chemical fumes or allowed to operate potentially dangerous machinery without proper training or protective safety gear. In addition an employer is also bound, by law, to conduct regular inspections and repairs in order to keep machinery in safe working order. Employers are also required to pay attention to the floors and traffic routes of their factories and other places of business including offices and canteens. There must be adequate drainage facilities to prevent pools of water that could lead to slips and falls. Other concerns are sudden slopes or structural flaws, such as a rickety staircase or faulty traffic routes. Under these regulations employers must also look at workplace temperature and whether there are enough facilities and provisions for the workers� comfort. This includes food facilities, a place for rest, sanitary conveniences and adequate space. Health and Safety training workshops must also be conducted, and special guidelines given for minors (those 18 years old or below) and pregnant women.
Legislation relating to risk assessment makes it the responsibility of the employer to identify unacceptable risk to the safety of employees and to remedy or prevent that potential risk. The responsibility of the employer increases with the identified degree of risk.
Legislation requires employers to ensure that any equipment is properly used according to its intended purpose and that employees are trained in its use. Under these regulations machines must also have emergency stop buttons, fixed guards, safety rails and warning labels.
Our workers compensation solicitor's deal with compensation claims for injury caused at work or connected with the workplace including locations outside the official workplace when going about company business including motor accidents whilst travelling on behalf of an employer. There are time limits and you should contact a workers compensation solicitor as soon as possible after any accident. There are several categories of workplace injury for which an employer may be liable including :-
Accidental injury encompasses all manner of personal injury caused in the workplace and includes faulty machinery, unsafe premises and inadequate work system. It is an employer's duty to look after the Health & Safety of employees and an employer is liable not only for their own acts and omissions but also for the behaviour of fellow employees whose conduct may cause injury to another employee because of carelessness or negligence, inadequate training or lack of knowledge. Machinery accidents are common place and are usually caused by equipment failure or inadequate training on the use of the particular machine. Employers are expected to carry out a risk assessment of any hazardous procedure and in particular are expected to reduce manual handling to a minimum except where practicalities make it unreasonable or impossible. Workers compensation solicitors are able to pursue many of these accidental injury cases with success.
Industrial disease includes hazards such as asbestos which causes mesothelioma, dust which causes silicosis, pneumoconiosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and hazardous chemicals including liquids and gasses many of which are carcinogenic. An employer is expected to provide adequate protection for employees including barrier creams, hazard suits and ventilation for handling these dangerous materials. Failure to do so will ensure that a workers compensation solicitor can make a claim for compensation.
Employees exposed to repetitive practices without adequate rest periods may suffer from repetitive strain injury (RSI) which occurs throughout the world of work and is not restricted to factory assembly worker employees with office staff just as vulnerable to RSI particularly typists and those inputting data at a workstation.
Vibration is another hazard that employers are expected remove so far as is reasonably possible. Exposure to vibrating hand held tools may cause Vibration White Finger (VWF) and Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) whereas Whole Body Vibration Syndrome (WBVS) is caused by an employee sitting for long periods of time on vibrating machinery such as agricultural implements, speedboats and trucks.
If you are injured in a car accident whilst carry out company business there are circumstances where the employer is liable to pay compensation for negligence. For example if you are a passenger in a vehicle driven by a co-worker whilst at work, under the vicarious liability rules, the employer is responsible for the negligence of the driver. Contact a firm of workers compensation solicitors for further information.
In addition if you are injured in the workplace by a company motor vehicle which includes commercial vehicles and fork lift trucks, the employer is vicariously liable for careless driving by a co-worker.
Our solicitors operate the no win no fee scheme and if you instruct our compensation lawyers to deal with your claim you will be certain that you are receiving high quality legal representation. The law on recovery of workers compensation differs from state to state across Australia. Our workers compensation solicitors are able to advise you on the steps you must take to make a success workers compensation claim. For advise at no cost and with no further obligation, just call the helpline.
Employers as well as employees usually overlook or fail to recognise that there are many statutory provisions that can result in an employer being held liable to pay an employee compensation in a solicitors industrial injury compensation claim in the event of an accident occurring while at work.
A workers compensation solicitor will typically deal with the following types of claim:-
Many industries in Australia have procedures that despite being outdated are still being used and expose employees to unnecessary risk. Examples of this are injuries with regards to mesothelioma, asbestosis, industrial deafness, vibration white finger and repetitive strain injury. There are many other industrial illnesses that are still common where the risk has been known for decades however employers still fail to adequately protect their work force as is required law. It is important that an affected employee takes legal advice from a workers compensation solicitor on injury claim settlements as soon as that employee becomes aware of an injury as the statute of limitation does apply to these cases.
Employers in Australia are bound by law to make sure that the walk ways, access ways and exits to and from places of work are consistently safe. This means making sure that there are no defects and no obstructions or spillages that could make the floor unsafe. An employee who suffers an injury because the employer failed in this responsibility will most likely succeed in an industrial injury compensation claim against an errant employer.
Employers have a duty to minimise manual handling operations by maintaining those operations that involve manual handling at a low level wherever reasonably possible. Where manual handling is unavoidable, employees should also be given adequate training and employers should make sure that the loads being pushed, pulled, lifted or lowered by employees are not too bulky, heavy or sharp or have strange centres of gravity that could increase the risk of accidents. Employers are required to carry out risk assessments in regards to almost all situations that may potentially involve manual handling and to minimise risk accordingly.
All of the equipment in the workplace should be suitable for its particular purpose. If there are any defects in the equipment that would cause any injury then the employer will be liable and must pay for damages in an industrial injury compensation claim. Additionally, if the equipment is not compatible for the job or the employee did not get any training for the use of the said equipment and it leads to an injury then the employer will be liable.
One should remember that the employer is liable for all of the acts of his employees whilst they are working which is known as vicarious liability. It is up to the employer to ensure that co-workers are competent and up to the job in hand. This means that if an employee who is driving a fork lift truck collides with another employee due to negligence and causes personal injury then it is the employer who is liable for those injuries.
These conditions and a number of other industrial diseases can be dealt with by our Sydney work accident solicitors. Our solicitors operate the no win no fee scheme and if you instruct our Sydney work accident compensation lawyers to deal with your claim you will be certain that you are receiving high quality legal representation. To contact our advocates just use the helpline or complete the contact form or email our offices.
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here