The office environment
The office is the most common workplace environment in the UK. 200 million square meters of office space houses over 10 million employees across the country. With so many industries (professional services and online sectors among others) there is a need for stringent health and safety policies to protect everyone working within them.
Ranging from small 1 man setups, through an extensive list of SMEs to the largest tower block based firms operating out of one of the UK’s major cities, the country has millions entering through the revolving doors and swiping in every morning. Jobs widely vary and tasks do also, but risks are risks all the same. Even in the most unsuspecting environments.
Although usual daily tasks; working on the desktop, filing, managing workflow and attending meetings, do not seem to carry much risk of a serious injury, they do still happen. Often we find office injuries are caused as a result of negligence, creating what can turn out to be a very serious injury from almost nothing.
All companies will carry a health and safety policy with guidelines on keeping hazards around the workplace at bay; some may have elected health and safety officers with training to assist anyone who does suffer in some way. While serious injuries are in the minority in these environments, some still happen, and they can have long term consequences.
While it is unlikely that serious injuries occur in the day to day running of a company, there are some hazards to be aware of that can cause severe damage to those involved:
Slips, trips & falls: A slip, trip or fall is the most common injury in the workplace. Often covered under personal injury claims if they result in minor injury. They can however become very serious if aspects of the fall lend themselves to a worse landing.
The floor may be very hard; the person who falls may be carrying extra weight in the form of a box, or files or other large object; the fall may be from height such as up a high ladder or even from one floor to another over a balcony; the angle of the fall may lead to intense pressure on certain bones or muscles causing breaks or tears.
The differences between a personal injury and serious injury need only be an extra few pounds added to a fall, or extra few inches to the floor, but these small differences can turn lives around, forcing lengthy rehabilitation and limitations placed on the lifestyles of those that suffer. When a slip, trip or fall becomes serious is dependant on circumstance. Victims could fall onto a sharp edge, causing serious lacerations open to infection. Other problems include potentially falling head first, impacting the skull off the floor; this runs the risk of intern al bleeding and permanent damage to the brain, even fatalities if any bleeding isn’t dealt with swiftly.
Electrical accidents: From childhood everybody is taught of the dangers of electricity. Even in the smallest of electrical devices, issues with faulty equipment, loose, exposed or unearthed wires and power overloads can all cause serious injury that could have residual, lifetime effects in an instant.
Electric shocks can prevent the body from performing basic tasks such as a heart to beat or lungs to take in air. When a body is shocked, there is a risk that electrical signals in the nerves become impaired and stop the body functioning normally. This can lead to heart attacks, shock and in the worst cases, fatalities. Electrical shocks have the potential to cause very severe damage from little exposure. With the ability to block signals to the brain it could render the victim unconscious and unable to function normally which without swift treatment could induce comas and death in the worst cases.
Along with electrical shocks, electrical burns can also cause extensive harm. Electrical burns can not only externally damage skin, causing scarring and deformity, but can also penetrate through the top layers of skin, causing sub-dermal damage beneath the skin.
Burns: While fires are a risk that every company has strict polices on for prevention, and are a rare occurrence, there are instances each year of incidents involving fire in office environments. Burn injuries can be extremely painful as well as life altering. Burns can cause devastating external damage, to the extent of requiring skin grafting in the worst cases. Injuries such as severe third/fourth degree burns can have psychological effects on a person if their face or body looks permanently scarred following burns.
Burns can leave victims a very different person, not only do they have the ability to cause excessive scarring, but also leave the bodies nervous system open to infection while the body tries to repair itself. The deeper the burn the longer recovery will take and the easier infection becomes. In the worst cases an infection may require an amputation of the limb to prevent any further damage to the rest of the affected person.
Aftercare & support
Sincere Law has been dealing with serious injuries from office workplace accidents for 20 years; involving victims requiring long term physiotherapy, psychotherapy and other dramatic lifestyle altering changes. In the most severe cases the working life of the victim involved would unfortunately be over. The most important aspect following serious injury to us is your care and support afterwards, whether that be care required, medical costs, equipment to alter the home and lifestyle and of course loss of earnings from time away from work or the inability to continue working.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury of any kind as a result of working within an office environment, get in touch with one of our advisers to see if you are able to make a claim. Our solicitors work on a no win no fee basis, meaning you won’t pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. To speak to us simply call 0800 092 2896 or fill in our contact form here. We give free, impartial advice to anyone who thinks they have a claim.
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Related Case Study
Serious Office Injury
The office environment The office is the most common workplace environment in the UK. 200 million square meters of office space houses over 10 million employees across the country. With so many industries (professional services and online sectors among...