Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Blame Game: Is It the Employer or Employee at Fault?

More often than not, accidents at work are caused by employers’ incapacity to provide adequate safety conditions, but what if the hazard happened because of the employee?

There is no doubt – a lot of workers get injured annually for one reason or another, but who is behind such incidents is often unclear. Indeed, employers have the legal obligation to provide their labourers with correct PPE – if the case – and a safe working environment. In case of the contrary, they are held liable for the losses of their employees. But things are not always like that; sometimes, workers get hurt due to their own negligence or are partially at fault for the accident.

Let us shed some light on occupational hazards, legal liability, this blame game, and more. Keep reading for valuable insights!

Occupational Hazards

Employees in all industries are exposed to some sort of occupational hazards, whether physical, chemical, ergonomic, or biological. But what are all these hazards all about? Well, they relate to the risks of accidents or illnesses one can develop in the workplace. Chemical hazards, for example, imply a disease risk due to exposure to vapours, chemicals, gases, or fumes toxic to human health. On the other hand, biological hazards are related to bacteria, viruses, or blood exposure. Nonetheless, workplace fatalities are most probable to happen in the construction field, as this domain implies extensive physical labour – preparing materials, construction sites, and tools are all practices that can lead to a hazard.

Injuries in construction can occur by dropping, falling, or any other form of impact, and also by electricity means. The main risks of working on a construction site include noise, slips, trips, and falls, working at height, asbestos, and collapsing trenches. Manual material handling (MMH) is also worth mentioning, as it can lead to severe injury if inadequate safety equipment is not in place.

Individuals working outdoors, such as on a construction site, are usually more exposed to risk, but this does not mean people employed in a corporation cannot face such disastrous happenings. Anything from faulty electronics and furniture to a co-worker is a potential risk factor. Thus, no job type should be ignored when discussing safety and health standards.

Prevention Measures

As an employer, you have the legal responsibility to ensure top-rate safety conditions in the workplace. While some incidents are unpredictable and cannot be avoided, others can be successfully prevented. What can you do to keep your staff away from harm?

  • Routine equipment and machinery maintenance
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Health and safety training, machinery and equipment training
  • Regular risk assessment
  • Proper hazard warnings or signage

Employers’ Liability for Employees’ Actions

Whether the employer is a business, a private individual, or a public agency, they are usually held liable for their labourers’ actions. That is because it is the employer’s obligation to ensure their company and, implicitly, employees benefit from top-rate safety and health standards. But what if it is the employee who causes the accident? What happens then with this vicarious liability?

Suppose an addicted employee gets injured as a result of their substance abuse. In this case, it is not the employer or related business to be blamed. It is the very actions of the employee that have led to that unfortunate event, and unless there are no toxicology reports in place to show the contrary, they will be responsible for their actions until the very end and sanctioned accordingly.

Contracts usually lay down that employees are not allowed to engage in recreational drug taking or drinking before or during work hours. Consequently, a hazard caused by such negligent behaviour is not lawsuit material.

What If an Employee Is Partially at Fault?

There might also be situations where the employee is partly to blame. What does this mean? It means that both the labourer and employer are somewhat at fault. Suppose an employee trips over an object and gets injured because they run in an area where this is prohibited. But still, the object that caused them to get injured should not have been there. This case is quite complex and should be assessed accordingly by a professional. Specialists from can provide pertinent advice on liability and help navigate the personal injury claim process. So, if you have a complex case or simply need legal advice and support to prove your case, it is highly recommended to call for a professional personal injury lawyer.

However, it is worth remembering that you can still take legal action even if you share liability. The thing is that you will receive a reduced compensation settlement based on your case. The percentage of this settlement will be diminished depending on your contribution towards your injuries, also called contributory negligence.

Employees’ Compensation Claims and Return to Work

As a worker, you have the right to file a compensation claim for your injuries, whether physical or psychological. If these injuries occurred on the job, your employer has the legal duty to provide you with a form essential for the claiming process. So, if you are sure the incident is due to your employer’s negligence, do not be afraid to ask for that form. Also, the employer should immediately file a report relating to the hazard and collaborate to obtain data from the employees’ compensation insurance provider and its lawyers. Your employer also has the right to an attorney, so if the incident’s circumstances are unclear, there could be a lengthy debate in the court.

But if you have an active claim and it is pretty clear that you got injured because of your employer’s negligence, you will most probably receive the deserved compensation. And, if you choose to return to work afterwards, do not worry about the treatment you would be welcome with; the employer has the legal responsibility to treat you the same as other employees, or they risk breaking labour laws.

The personal injury claim process can sometimes be obstacle-ridden, mainly if there is uncertainty as regards the party at fault. We hope this article has shed some light on this subject and will further help you navigate this sometimes-complicated process.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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