Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents, or occupational injuries, occur when an employee suffers injuries during the course of their employment.

Brigid O’Donnell, Solicitor, a native of Cashel, Tipperary with offices in Clonmel, Tipperary and Cork city has successfully recovered compensation for clients who have suffered injuries- ranging from minor injuries to life-changing catastrophic injuries- due to workplace accidents. She has also successfully recovered compensation for families who have lost loved ones due to workplace accidents.

Employers are obliged under Health and Safety Legislation to ensure, so far as is practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work, of their employees.

Employers must prepare a risk assessment and safety statement identifying potential hazards. Once hazards, or risks to safety, have been identified; employers must then exercise due care to put in place the necessary protective and preventative measures to prevent said risks from arising.

Many workplace accidents can be avoided by way of the preparation and implementation of an adequate risk assessment and safety statement.

However, from our experience, it is more regularly the case that employers fail to draft policies which identify all potential hazards, fail to implement their own policies, or fail to update their policies in accordance with changes in the workplace. This amounts to a failure in the duty of care owed to employees, or negligence.

The 2005 Act also places specific obligations on employers to:

(a) manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of employees;
(b) manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health or welfare at work of his or her employees at risk;
(c) provide a safe place of work including safe methods of access and egress;
(d) ensure, as far as practicable, that no use of any article or substance or exposure to noise, vibration or ionising radiations or other physical agents will cause a risk to health at work of its employees.
(e) provide/implement safe systems of work;
(f) provide and maintain welfare facilities;
(g) provide the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees;

If an employer fails to comply with their obligations pursuant to the Health and Safety Legislation and an employee suffers injury as a direct result of that failure, the employee will have grounds for a personal injuries claim.

There is no doubt that some working environments are more hazardous than others. For example, sadly, the Construction and Farming sectors have always proven to be particularly perilous working environments.
38 people lost their lives due to workplace accidents in 2020 and 2021. Almost 75% of these fatalities occurred in the farming and construction sector.

While this is the lowest number of fatalities on record since the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) began to collate this information in 1989, the tragic, avoidable loss of one life is one too many. The most common causes of death in the context of fatal workplace accidents included falling from a height, or the loss of control of a vehicle, or one of its attachments.

However, accidents can and do arise in every sector.

While obviously the 2022 report is skewed to a certain extent in that it is based on data relating to 2020 and 2021, which were outliers due to the COVID Pandemic and associated restrictions, it is worrying that the 2021 figures relating to non-fatal injuries demonstrated an 8% increase on the 2020 figures.

The most common injuries are back injuries while lifting, trip/slip and falls, injuries to upper limbs and work-related stress/anxiety.

Common workplace accidents and injuries:

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  • Back injuries
  • Injuries caused by lifting

  • Manual handling injuries
  • Falls from a height
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Fractures
  • Accidents involving defective, or rotten, scaffolding
  • Accidents involving machinery to include forklifts, saws, factory machinery
  • Accidents involving defective equipment or machinery
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Vibration white finger
  • Accidents involving vehicles
  • Slip and fall
  • Trip and fall
  • Wet, slippery floors
  • Crush injuries
  • Electrocution/Electric shock
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals resulting in injury
  • Industrial diseases
  • Asbestosis
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Reactive Airway Disease
  • Injuries caused by falling objects
  • Fires and explosions
  • Burns

  • Needlestick injuries
  • Construction accidents
  • Farming accidents
  • Fatal injuries due to workplace accidents
  • Factory accidents
  • Warehouse accidents
  • Garda Compensation claims
  • Assaults
  • Assaults perpetrated against emergency personnel to include nurses, Gardai, paramedics

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Seek medical attention for your injuries.
  • Report the accident to your employer at the earliest opportunity. Complete the necessary Incident/Accident report accurately. If possible, retain a copy of the Accident Report form.
  • Keep your own note regarding the circumstances of the accident, to include details of all witnesses.
  • If you are out of work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to various benefits under the Occupational Injuries Scheme.
  • If you suffered injuries due to negligence/breach of duty on the part of your employer, contact a solicitor with experience in personal injuries cases to identify whether you have grounds to take a claim for compensation. Brigid O’Donnell has spent the last fifteen years working exclusively in the area of personal injury and medical negligence cases. Brigid has developed an excellent reputation for recovering compensation for clients injured due to workplace accidents.

If you suffered injuries due to a workplace accident, or due to your working conditions (for example cancer or asbestosis due to exposure to asbestos in the workplace, or injury due to exposure to other chemical materials) and you are unsure as to whether you have grounds for a claim, contact us to arrange a consultation. Brigid O’Donnell has extensive experience in the area of employer’s liability claims and provides empathetic, client focused advice.

If you have lost a loved one to a fatal accident in the workplace, contact Brigid to arrange a consultation. Brigid O’Donnell Solicitors is based in Tipperary with office facilities in Cork City- however, Brigid is happy to facilitate remote consultations and she is available to meet with clients at a time and place convenient to them.

Generally speaking, a claim must be initiated by way of lodging an application with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board within two years of the date of injury. However, it is advisable to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure that your case has the best prospect of success.

Each case will be different. Brigid O’Donnell of Brigid O’Donnell Solicitors has ample experience in the area of personal injuries law and will work hard to ensure that you are appropriately compensated for your injuries. Generally speaking, a person who takes a successful claim for compensation will be compensated for pain and suffering (past and future) and all out of pocket expenses which arose as a direct result of the accident. The level of general compensation recoverable is decided in accordance with the Personal Injury Guidelines- details available via link Examples of special damages, or out of pocket expenses, include loss of earnings, GP visit fees, physiotherapy and prescription fees.

Understandably, employees can be apprehensive about initiating personal injuries claims against their employer. However, there are laws in place to protect you from being treated unfairly, or dismissed, for taking a claim against your employer where you are genuinely injured due to their negligence. It is also almost always the case that there is an insurance policy in place in respect of workplace accidents and so, it is the insurers rather than your employer who ultimately pay the compensation.

Get In Touch

If you have suffered injury due to a workplace accident, it is important to seek legal advice as a matter of priority to ensure that all vital evidence is preserved and your case has the best prospects of success. Brigid has 15 years’ experience representing people who have been injured due to workplace accidents. Contact us to arrange a consultation to discuss your options. Read more about workplace accidents and personal injuries solicitor services.

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