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Employer v Employee Personal Injury Liability

Employer v Employee Personal Injury Liability

Postby Westpac » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:25 pm

Let's say you get a job that involves you lifting lots of heavy and awkward objects. You knew that this was a part of the job when you applied and felt that it was something you could manage.

A week into your job you put your back out lifting one of these heavy objects. It is suggested to you by a bloke down the pub that because your employer did not give you any manual handling training you might have a personal Injury claim.

You thought you could safely lift that heavy object and it was your choice as an adult to do so. Can your employer really be liable for not providing you with the training that may have made you reconsider lifting this heavy object that hurt your back?

The same applies for ladder training. How liable is the employer if they didn't provide you with any training in these type of things and you have an accident, despite the fact that you're an adult and should be expected to exercise your own judgment about such things?
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Re: Employer v Employee Personal Injury Liability

Postby dls » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:36 pm

In both cases, the answers are technical and found in the application of the appropriate Regulations to the precise and detailed situation.

I would assume liability until clear otherwise and the employer should notify his insurers.
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Re: Employer v Employee Personal Injury Liability

Postby Slartibartfast » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:42 pm

The employer is on thin ice if they haven't provided training. But one factor worth considering is what previous training and experience the employee had (or claimed to have) when they were appointed. If the employer could reasonably consider that training wasn't necessary because of the applicant's background, it would mitigate the risk a little.

Most sensible employers would just retrain new staff anyway, just to be on the safe side.
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Re: Employer v Employee Personal Injury Liability

Postby Westpac » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:12 pm

Slartibartfast wrote: If the employer could reasonably consider that training wasn't necessary because of the applicant's background, it would mitigate the risk a little.


Good point. I did wonder about that. Many employees have generic health and safety in the workplace qualifications. Often acquired years ago and as such are fairly meaningless. I wonder how an employer would fare if they said that when the employee applied for the job he produced a diploma in general health and safety that covered manual handling, ladder training and most other things.

I have myself relied on such a qualification to get a job. I know that a diploma in generic health and safety that I got ten years ago and can remember nothing about was the difference between me and another applicant. I did wonder at the time if it actually meant that it would mitigate any employers liability to take reasonable steps to ensure my safety.

The opening post does not refer to a situation I am in by the way. A colleague of mine has just received a 3.5k payment for a back injury because the employer did not give him manual handling training. A previous employee received 7k for having an accident on a ladder because the same employer did not provide him with ladder training.
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