Anyone clued up on there employment law?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

i work for an aluminium window firm, and recently had to goto a building site to correct a fault with a window our company had supplied to a building firm, while there i fell down a whole which was covered with a rubber bin lid and wasnt marked or secured, and i injured my foot and ankle. after speaking to my boss about the poor health and safety conditions on site which wasnt run by my firm he said it wasnt his problem, now currently im off work as i cannot put any weight on the foot as per the direction of my doctor, i was considering putting a claim in for loss of earnings, however im not sure who the claim would be against.

my question is simply who would the claim be against if i was to go that far. would it be my firm as they were paying me and they sent me to the site, or is it the building company that was running the site and who caused the injury in the first place?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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i work for an aluminium window firm, and recently had to goto a building site to correct a fault with a window our company had supplied to a building firm, while there i fell down a whole which was covered with a rubber bin lid and wasnt marked or secured, and i injured my foot and ankle. after speaking to my boss about the poor health and safety conditions on site which wasnt run by my firm he said it wasnt his problem, now currently im off work as i cannot put any weight on the foot as per the direction of my doctor, i was considering putting a claim in for loss of earnings, however im not sure who the claim would be against.

my question is simply who would the claim be against if i was to go that far. would it be my firm as they were paying me and they sent me to the site, or is it the building company that was running the site and who caused the injury in the first place?
Judging by your spelling and terminology, I assume you're in the UK. Employment law varies from place to place, so you should specify that in your post. In any case, you shouldn't take legal advice from us, you should talk to a lawyer.
 
  • #3
brewnog
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If you're genuinely out of work as a result, there are plenty of personal injury solicitors here who will offer a no win no fee service for you.

If you're trying it on and are it for some easy cash, then shame on you; I hope you get syphillis.
 
  • #4
im sorry, i do apologise for the way its come across, yes im in the UK, and when i say im off work, i mean in the terms of "off sick over a short period of time", the doctor said to stay off it for a 10/12 days and see if its easier to walk on if not, then im to go back for more xrays, i had a small chip in the bone is all, my boss is fine with that and i will be getting paid for the time off, but while im off im not getting paid for my usual overtime which i rely on like most people to pay the bills.

The reason i was considering putting a claim in was purely because of the health and safety issues on site, and the fact my boss doesnt seem in the slightest interested. So the way i see it, if im off because of an injury caused because of someone elses negligence and nobody is listening then they can pay the difference in wages, and i was simply curious who the blame would fall on with regards to a claim either my boss or the construction company, it was just an idle question and im not prepared to contact a injury claim solicitor at this point.
 
  • #5
brewnog
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Fair enough.

Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure that you can work off-site safely, to advise you of any work-related hazards, and to provide any training appropriate to allow you to conduct your work safely. You have a responsibility to take reasonable care, to ensure you're trained and familiar with procedures and policies, and to report any hazards, incidents or injuries.

If your employer (and you!) can show that you haven't been negligent in these aspects then culpability may fall to the owners/operators of the site on which you were working.

Common sense would say that the idiot who covered a hole with a piece of flimsy plastic would be held responsible, but you know how HSAW often goes...

Report it to your supervisor, if he doesn't take it seriously escalate it to his supervisor. Record all communication. Seek advice from the CAB if you don't want to take it to a solicitor.
 
  • #6
Fair enough.

Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure that you can work off-site safely, to advise you of any work-related hazards, and to provide any training appropriate to allow you to conduct your work safely. You have a responsibility to take reasonable care, to ensure you're trained and familiar with procedures and policies, and to report any hazards, incidents or injuries.

If your employer (and you!) can show that you haven't been negligent in these aspects then culpability may fall to the owners/operators of the site on which you were working.

Common sense would say that the idiot who covered a hole with a piece of flimsy plastic would be held responsible, but you know how HSAW often goes...

Report it to your supervisor, if he doesn't take it seriously escalate it to his supervisor. Record all communication. Seek advice from the CAB if you don't want to take it to a solicitor.
excellent response thank you very much
 
  • #7
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If the fault is with the site you were working at (there was nothing your company could have done to prevent it) then the claim goes against them. Your boss is right in so far as the responsibility for this particular incident has nothing to do with them.

If it is a genuine claim, with medical proof then take it to a no win no fee claims company who will do everything for you and give you all the advice you need.

Despite the law being on your side and you'd be pretty much guaranteed to win the case, I personally invoke 'common sense' in the matter. There is a bin lid on the ground and you step on it? Really? Frankly, when I see people injured because of something like this I have to ask what they were thinking walking on a bin lid in the first place. Of course, I'll retract this statement if you can give a good reason to be on the bin lid in the first place.
 
  • #8
AlephZero
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... i will be getting paid for the time off, but while im off im not getting paid for my usual overtime which i rely on like most people to pay the bills.
Unfortunately, loss of overtime is probably not a good basis for a loss of earnings claim. Your employer does not have any responsibility to guarantee you regular overtime work, even if you are not sick. The fact that you have based your personal standard of living on working regular overtime is irrelevant.

The reason i was considering putting a claim in was purely because of the health and safety issues on site, and the fact my boss doesnt seem in the slightest interested. So the way i see it, if im off because of an injury caused because of someone elses negligence and nobody is listening then they can pay the difference in wages, and i was simply curious who the blame would fall on with regards to a claim either my boss or the construction company, it was just an idle question and im not prepared to contact a injury claim solicitor at this point.
I expect your boss isn't interested is simply because there is no obvious win for either him or you from it, and there are plenty of ways to "lose" once some independent person starts investigating all the circumstances. For exmple it might turn out that you and/or your employer have been systematically ignoring a bunch of H&S regulations that you were not even aware of.

One option would be for you to bring this to the attention of the H%S inspectors yourself, simply as a factual statement about working conditions on the site. They might just ignore it, but if they have similar reports about the same company (possibly from different construction sites) it may be another piece of evidence in a bigger picture.
 
  • #9
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This is clearly not for us to be giving advice on specific cases. Call citizens advice.

If the fault is with the site you were working at (there was nothing your company could have done to prevent it) then the claim goes against them. Your boss is right in so far as the responsibility for this particular incident has nothing to do with them.
This is wrong, and as this is clearly a real case bum information may set the OP off in the wrong direction.

Employers are obliged to ensure a safe working environment even (especially is probably more accurate) when working off site. This usually extends to correct training, risk assesments of the job, audits of the site, etc. If an employee is injured off site, it's most certainly the reponsibility of the company that he is employed by, as he was there on their behalf.

However, providing the safe working environment is the responsibility of whoever owns the site.

So as much as the buck stops with who ever owns the site, it's everyones problem. I can only assume this is a small company the OP works for, because there should be a health and safety officer who would have told him this and his manager wouldn't have been so dismissive.

OP if the H&S conditions were truly bad why didn't you raise it before beginning any work on the site?
 
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  • #10
Despite the law being on your side and you'd be pretty much guaranteed to win the case, I personally invoke 'common sense' in the matter. There is a bin lid on the ground and you step on it? Really? Frankly, when I see people injured because of something like this I have to ask what they were thinking walking on a bin lid in the first place. Of course, I'll retract this statement if you can give a good reason to be on the bin lid in the first place.
yeah, its always different looking from another persons perspective, to give a basic outlay of the site i was on, it was an end terraced house which was demolished then is in the process of rebuilding, but every other site ive been on like this they knock the house down, then clear the site before starting the build, in this case there was mountains of rubble/brickwork/windows/baths/toilets etc all over the site, so seeing a binlid on the floor didnt strike me as odd, it didnt have a cleared area around it or anything to indicate that it was anything but more debris.

So i wasnt out to delibrately stand on this lid, it was right next to the scaffold tower i was working on and when moving around to the other side, i went down it.

Anyway i gave my boss a call today just to check in, he asked how i was etc and from what i gather there billing the building company for my time off, and theyve contacted the HSE about the conditions on the site, that could just be for my benefit but atleast there listening to me.
 
  • #11
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Anyway i gave my boss a call today just to check in, he asked how i was etc and from what i gather there billing the building company for my time off, and theyve contacted the HSE about the conditions on the site, that could just be for my benefit but atleast there listening to me.
Your boss called you, because his boss wants to know the score. Prudently, they're covering their asses. You need to do the same.
 
  • #12
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OK, I think we have an answer to the first question "anyone clued up on there employment law?" and it is "no". But that doesn't seem to stop people from having opinions.
 
  • #13
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This is wrong, and as this is clearly a real case bum information may set the OP off in the wrong direction.
Please re-read what I wrote again, pay particular attention to: "(there was nothing your company could have done to prevent it)".
Employers are obliged to ensure a safe working environment even (especially is probably more accurate) when working off site. This usually extends to correct training, risk assesments of the job, audits of the site, etc. If an employee is injured off site, it's most certainly the reponsibility of the company that he is employed by, as he was there on their behalf.

However, providing the safe working environment is the responsibility of whoever owns the site.
Correct, which is why I put that little caveat in my previous post.

If your employer did everything they could and followed the laws correctly, then there is no recourse on them. This is why you keep H&S records to show you are following the law when things go wrong.

If they had the necessary risk assessments of the site and they showed it as safe, it then falls on the site owner to prove the problem (in this case the hole) was there before that RA was conducted - proving that company is actually responsible and negligent (this doesn't absolve them of responsibility for not adhering to the rules).

H&S is a tricky business. The company I worked at went to great lengths to follow every single H&S procedure and keep it recorded. Every time something went wrong they just showed this to H&S, proved they had done everything within their power, and that was pretty much the end of it.

I'd also note that there are cases when performing RA's and other procedures just isn't possible. This is where things get really messy, but under these circumstances it would be between both site owner and your company. It's part of the reason why the law says "as far as possible" when referring to the employers responsibility to make sure it's safe.
So as much as the buck stops with who ever owns the site, it's everyones problem. I can only assume this is a small company the OP works for, because there should be a health and safety officer who would have told him this and his manager wouldn't have been so dismissive.
Again, as above. To me this sounds like a small company (as you note) who doesn't follow all the necessary procedures. In which case, my little note above comes into play as the company hasn't done everything possible.
OP if the H&S conditions were truly bad why didn't you raise it before beginning any work on the site?
The obvious question (at least for me). See the last paragraph of my previous post, it sums out my view on it.
 
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  • #14
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OK, I think we have an answer to the first question "anyone clued up on there employment law?" and it is "no". But that doesn't seem to stop people from having opinions.
The law in itself is fairly straight forward, even if it is long winded.

It is here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/
 
  • #15
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The law in itself is fairly straight forward, even if it is long winded.
It is here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/
And it isn't that the employer has no liability like you said earlier, I asked the HSE guy at work.

It doesn't matter how straight forward, or not straight forward the law is. We aren't qualified to be giving advice in a legal capacity. Doing so is decidedly dodgy, we shouldn't really give opinions in threads asking for legal advice either. As they can be quite easily confused with facts.
 
  • #16
And it isn't that the employer has no liability like you said earlier, I asked the HSE guy at work.

It doesn't matter how straight forward, or not straight forward the law is. We aren't qualified to be giving advice in a legal capacity. Doing so is decidedly dodgy, we shouldn't really give opinions in threads asking for legal advice either. As they can be quite easily confused with facts.
ok this thread definitely needs closing now as it is getting out of hand the original question was who was at fault essentially my boss for sending me, or the site manager belonging to the building firm, i got the answer and ty everyone for your replies. however it does seem to be getting a little snappy

thanks again
 
  • #17
Evo
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Closing per OP's request.

Hope you get better soon.
 

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