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23 Nov 2020

Personal Injury

Have your changing working practices been bad for your health?

Even though less of us have actually been ‘in’ work during the pandemic, with all of the changes to our working practices, thousands of people across the UK are still suffering physical or psychological injuries in the workplace. And yet many of us would not even consider raising it as an issue. Victoria Smithyman, a senior associate solicitor in our Personal Injury department gives her advice for anyone who’s looking to make a claim against their employer for injuries that they have sustained at work or while working from home.

It’s fair to say that ‘work’ is very different for most of us from what we knew it to be this time last year.

As well as the huge number of people who’ve lost their jobs through the pandemic and the hundreds of thousands who have been furloughed, even more have had their working hours reduced or are now part of a much smaller workforce and are having to cover the workloads of others.

Almost all of us have had to adapt our working practices in some way through the introduction of social distancing measures or having to work from home, all of which are bringing their own challenges.

Over-stretched workforce

With many businesses having to restructure and make staff cuts, as well as increased absence from those employees who have either contracted the virus or are having to self-isolate, there has been increased pressure on those employees who have remained in post and have been able to work.

This all has a potential impact on increased stress levels and the possibility of psychological or physical injuries. For example, in factories, staff may be required to use equipment or machinery that they are not trained to use or lack experience in operating, while covering for another member of the team who is on furlough or absent.

Working from home

A large percentage of the workforce is also now working from home, either on a temporary or permanent basis, which can present its own increased risks.

If you are having to work from home, you are entitled to the same level of care as when working from the employer’s premises. It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure you are fully equipped to undertake the tasks that are expected of you. Make sure that your employer has checked the following:

  • Ensure your workstation is properly set up and does not increase your risk of neck or back injury
  • Whether you are experiencing increased stress from having to work from home with other family members present or issues with having the space/privacy to conduct your work effectively
  • All the necessary equipment has been provided to allow you to work from home effectively
  • Sufficient support is being provided to prevent feelings of isolation and abandonment, which could result in stress and anxiety.

Suffering in silence

Although these are very unusual times, you should not have to suffer in silence if your changing working practices have been detrimental to your health or wellbeing.

When an employer fails to take reasonable steps to ensure a safe working environment and an employee is injured as a result, that employee has a legal right to make a claim for compensation.

Understandably, some people worry about making a claim against their employer and choose to say nothing. But remember, your employer has a legal duty to ensure your health and safety so if this has been compromised in any way, you are within your rights to make a claim. Everyone is entitled to feel safe in their work. Taking action could also benefit others as well as you as your employer may be required to take remedial action to ensure the same issue does not affect others in future.

Also, it’s good to know that in almost all cases, the claim is handled by the employer’s liability insurance company and not by the employer themselves.


Get in touch

Whatever the nature of the injury, we understand the impact that it can have on your health, your daily life, your family and your finances. If you have sustained an injury at work that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with our experienced personal injury department on 01633 244233 or hello@hevans.com to find out whether you are entitled to make a claim against your employer.


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