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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47376
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi I got a back injury at work in the workplace , I had a

Resolved Question:

Hi I got a back injury at work in the workplace , I had a worker put in place in the morning to do the manual handling task with me in the afternoon. I have been trained in manual handling and did everything right .
At lunchtime I told my line manager what I was going to do . He knew the task involved He decided to take the worker away from me to do an other job . I explained I needed help, and he said I have no one to give you. As I was the only person left to do the job i felt a responsibility of duty as there was no time to do the job the next day due to shortage of staff. Has my line manager got a duty of care for my health and safety at work
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Employers do indeed have a duty of health and safety towards their employees and they need to ensure that any risks that employees may be exposed to are either removed or reduced as much as possible. What can be done will of course depend on the specific circumstances and the jobs that need to be undertaken so it will vary on a case by case basis. The issue here is that the employer will not be solely at fault for what happened - you were aware of the risks and you still went ahead to do the job regardless, knowing that doing so may expose you to harm. This will amount to contributory negligence where through your negligent actions you have contributed to the injury in question. The employer may have been partially responsible for what happened by removing the help you required, but you still went ahead with the job knowing that was the case and knowing that this would have likely exposed you to potential harm. So you will bear partial responsibility for this. If you knew that the job was no longer safe, regardless of whether you felt a duty to do the work, you should have raised your concerns with the employer and refused to do the work until the necessary measures were taken to ensure that the job was safe to do.

Customer:

Hi Ben thanks for your answer I am a fit person and the guidelines in the manual handling regulations do allow you to do jobs like what I was doing on your own.I have just been onto the health and safety executive website in the last few minutes and they are saying that the day-today management of health and safety falls to your line manager ,they have a crucial role for managing risks in the workplace and are responsible for health and safety of their workers . I carried out all the proper risk assessment's and have done this kind of job for the last 16 years without any problems

Ben Jones :

ok so if the job could have been done on your own why did you end up being injured?

Customer:

It happen after a very busy week work on the golf course , as one of my staff members was off there was more to do.I only had myself and a seasonal gardener to maintain the 9 hole golf course before a major competition that weekend .

Ben Jones : Ok but the key is whether the employer should have reasonably known that the work you were asked to do was going to expose you to risk and it is still important to remember that if you knew that this may have been the case but still went ahead with the work, you will almost certainly have some responsibility for the injuries suffered through contributory negligence so the employer will not have full liability
Customer:

My line manager did know the work I was doing as he help me in the pass with lifting the cutting units .The job I do as head greenkeeper is to carry out manual handling duties regularly up 25kg .This part of my job I have been doing for the last 20 years. The majority of this lifting is done alone as there is not the manpower or resources in place to help me.

Ben Jones : So if it has been done safely by one person for such along time what do you think the employer has done wrong this time round? The employer does have a duty of health and safety but it will also be based on past experience and if that experience is that the job could have safely been done in the way it was done this time, then it would be unreasonable to say they have acted incorrectly unless there were specific factors which had clearly identified an additional risk
Customer:

At present I have a large work load that is in place for me to do. The golf course is overplayed and needs high maintance.This makes it impossible for all works to be completed without some risk to health as these jobs are labour intensive and the onus is just left to me to get on with it with only one staff member .I have brought issues to the managers frequently in the past regarding work loads due to shortage of staff and recourses but have had no help.

Ben Jones : Ok so if you believe the employer has not conducted the required risk assessments or has been at fault for the injury all you can do now, apart from an internal complaint, is to pursue a claim for personal injury against them through the civil courts
Customer:

Thank very much for your help Ben you have brought up key points and I have taken note .

Ben Jones : You are welcome, all the best
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