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Trainee health and safety failures result in claims against budget-watching employers

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Employers tightening their belts by cutting down on training are working to a false economy, if the fines being handed out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are anything to go by.

Businesses taking on trainees sometimes overlook the need for enhanced training and supervision of rookie workers, but their duties under current health and safety legislation are clearly defined by the HSE and must be adhered to, otherwise prosecutions, fines and injury claims will result.
Trainee electrician suffers severe injuries in forklift accident
In June, the HSE reported that a trainee electrician from Plymouth suffered a fractured pelvis, facial injuries, a broken front tooth and a lacerated elbow in an accident that happened in 2009. The severe injuries sustained by 18 year old Tom Davis were caused when the metal cage he was in fell 20 feet from a fork lift truck.
The employers had asked the trainee and his colleague to change lightbulbs on the warehouse ceiling, and provided them with a forklift truck, even though neither of the workers had training in its use. A cage was strapped to the forklift in which Mr Davis was placed. But whilst he was changing one of the bulbs, the forklift topped over and the cage went crashing to the floor.
The two employers involved received hefty fines. HT Gardner Distribution Ltd was fined a total of £20,000 with £11,300 costs and CL Electrical was fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000. There is no doubt that injured worker Tom Davis will make a claim against them for compensation.
What the accident claim could amount to
A fractured pelvis is normally a very serious injury and can sometimes even lead to the amputation of a leg or damage to internal organs, or the need for a hip replacement. Compensation awards range from £2,175 where there is no resulting disability, to £76,350 where there is organ damage, considerable disability and high future risk.
For his facial injuries, depending on whether there will be lasting pain or scarring, Mr Davis could expect to add to his claim anything in the region of £1,125 to £24,100.
A lost front tooth could see an addition of £1,300 - £2,300 added to the award, depending on the amount of treatment required and the pain experienced.
It is up to an expert injury claims lawyer to work alongside medical experts to ensure the award level adequately compensates the victim for their past, existing and possible future suffering and treatment required.
For anyone who has suffered serious injuries in an accident at work, taking advice from the expert injury claims lawyers at Stephensons is the first step to achieving the best possible compensation award. Our specialists have a renowned track record in this area. For confidential advice, call us on 01616 966 229.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney