Manual handling is defined as the 'transporting or supporting of a load (including lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving) by hand or bodily force'. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) latest (2013/14p) three year averaged estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) showed an estimated 54,000 reportable manual handling injuries that resulted in more than three days absence from work. Manual handling injuries can result in pain, incapacity, time off work, and financial hardship due to loss of earnings. All these factors will be taken into account when making a claim against an employer.
Apart from lifting and carrying; pulling, pushing, lowering, moving and supporting objects by hand may all cause manual handling injuries. Such injuries may be partially blamed on other factors, such as poor posture, a pre-existing medical condition, or the particular physical characteristics of an individual worker. Injuries are often cumulative, the result of excessive repetition of physical tasks over time, however the majority are caused by sudden physical trauma. Most injuries of this kind affect the lower back, though injuries to the upper back, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and feet are also common.
Workers in almost any industry can be affected by manual handling and lifting injuries, though those engaged in physically-demanding roles are most at risk. Workers on building sites, and at warehouses, factories, supermarkets and farms are regularly exposed to working conditions conducive to manual handling injuries. Delivery drivers, nurses and care workers are also expected to lift and carry heavy loads, both animate or inanimate, as a matter of routine. However, it is estimated that up to 50% of all manual handling and lifting injuries occur in supposedly safe office environments, where employees injure themselves by, among other things, carrying folders and moving furniture.
Clients often call us to ask; I hurt my back from lifting at work in Liverpool can I claim compensation? The responsibilities of employers in this area of law are set out in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. The regulations state than an employer has a duty, as far as is reasonably practical, to avoid the need for employees to undertake tasks involving lifting by hand. Where such tasks are unavoidable, they must be competently risk assessed with all ergonomic factors taken into account, including the suitability of individual workers to perform them. Employees must be provided with training in safe lifting techniques, as well as protective equipment to support their backs when lifting and carrying heavy or awkward weights.
Manual handling injuries particularly effect the lower back. A fractured vertebrae or disc can lead to ongoing disabilities as well as severe pain. Compensation awards in this area will be between £24,750 and £44,500. At the lower end of the scale, a strain or sprain in the back that heals fully within about 2 years will result in awards of up to £5,000. Where the healing process takes up to about 5 years, the maximum award would be £8,000. Manual handling can also cause other injuries to the upper body, such as a dislocated shoulder, which would result in compensation awards of between £8,100 and £12,250. For a severe crush injury to the feet, resulting in permanent pain or disability, compensation awards will be between £53,500 and £70,000. A simple fracture of one or more toes, where a full recovery is made within a short period of time would lead to a maximum of £3,500 being awarded.
Bartletts Solicitors have been protecting and supporting clients for 150 years, and enjoys a reputation nationwide for trusted legal advice. We are specialists in work lifting injury compensation claims, having successfully represented employees who have been injured during manual handling tasks across a range of industries.
Bartletts Solicitors handle accident at work claims on a no win no fee basis, meaning that you will not have to pay any legal fees until you win your claim and receive your compensation, and will not have to pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. Since a change in the law in April 2013, all law firms now charge a success fee payable upon conclusion of successful work accident claims, calculated as a percentage of the damages awarded. Contact our specialist team today for free and confidential legal advice.
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