Employers must comply with their statutory duties in providing adequate manual handling training or risk assessments. You can claim compensation if you have been injured through lifting or moving objects if it can be proven your employer has been negligent.
Table of contents
- What is a manual handling injury?
- What does the law say about manual handling at work?
- How much weight should one person lift at work?
- When can you make a manual handling injury claim?
- Why make a compensation claim?
- Compensation amounts
- How Direct2Compensation can help with your claim
- Manual handling injury claim examples – your questions answered
What is a manual handling injury?
Any workplace task that requires an individual to lift, move or support a load is a manual handling task. The Health and Safety Executive define it as: “Transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force.”
Over a third of reportable workplace injuries occur after an incident of manual handling. They represent a large proportion of the accident at work compensation claims we deal with. The majority arise as a direct result of employers failing to pay the necessary attention to manual handling safety. These claims will succeed if it can be shown that the employer has been negligent.
Manual handling injuries can be linked to any work involving the handling of loads, even light items. Those known to be at high risk include care workers, manufacturing staff, agricultural and construction workers. It should be noted however, that any person in any workplace is at risk of a manual handling injury.
Commonly, manual handling injuries involve the back and muscle strains, and can be a very serious matter. They can limit mobility, affect independence and often leave people struggling to work and maintain their usual day-to-day lifestyle. Claiming compensation can help you to recover physically and financially.
What does the law say about manual handling at work?
If employers are tasking staff members to lift items, it doesn’t matter what weight the items are, they must ensure workers are correctly trained and provided with the right know-how and tools to work safely. Further, the employer is responsible for the maintenance and safety of lifting equipment, for example hoists, platforms, or forklifts.
Employers should look at the task to be performed, the working environment and individual capabilities. Staff members should be shown how to lift items safely, and know when something is too heavy to lift alone or without mechanical help.
Manual handling regulations require employers to:
- Minimise incorrect and dangerous manual handling practices so far as is reasonably practicable
- Review potentially hazardous manual handling tasks that are unavoidable
- Ensure that steps have been taken that will minimise and help to avoid the risk of manual handling injury so far as is reasonably practicable
Regardless of the kind of workplace, employers must by law ensure:
- That staff are adequately trained in how to lift items safely, identify heavy items and be provided with the correct equipment and working environment to follow such training
- That any equipment provided to staff to enable them to lift heavier items are regularly maintained and repaired
- That any equipment reported or found to be faulty or dangerous are removed from use
How much weight should one person lift at work?
Health and safety guidelines recommend that no person should attempt to lift an item that exceeds 25kgs in weight without the assistance of a second staff member or hoist.
Trolley’s should also be provided to move items once lifted, as this will reduce the stress placed on the employee’s lower back.
If you work for an employer who expects you to lift items of 25kgs or more without assistance, you are likely to suffer a back injury at work and if so, would have a very strong claim for compensation.
However, some types of back injury, such as a slipped disc, can be caused by lifting light items, so the weight of what you’re lifting isn’t the only factor at play.
When can you make a manual handling injury claim?
Whilst claims are usually associated with jobs that include repeated lifting, such as in warehouses, factories, construction sites and shops, they can happen in any workplace. Even office jobs can see employees suffer manual handling injuries.
Common scenarios leading to manual handling injury compensation include:
- Employers failing to provide manual handling guidance or training
- Not advising staff of the risks of lifting incorrectly
- Forcing people to lift weights heavier than they should
- Refusing or failing to provide lifting equipment
- A working environment that prevents people from working and lifting safely
Employers that fail to ensure full training, guidance and a safe ‘lifting and moving’ policy will be liable should any related injuries happen to their staff. Any person injured in this way at work is entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation, as well as to exercise certain workers rights to help with their recovery.
Why make a compensation claim?
Claiming personal injury compensation can help to ease the problems caused by your injuries. Our claimants are often in a considerable amount of pain, unable to move freely, sleep comfortably or work and earn their regular salary. Recovering from manual handling injuries can take many months, and it is often the case that victims never feel like they have fully recovered and discomfort is felt whenever they attempt any physical task or need to lift items.
As well as claiming a financial settlement if you have been injured at work, compensation can also help you in other ways:
- Making a claim is your legal right, and fairly compensates you for injuries that were not your fault
- It can pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed your recovery
- It can make up for lost income now and in the future if you are prevented from working again
As all claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, you will never be charged if your claim does not succeed.
Specialist rehabilitation therapies
Once your solicitor has obtained an admission of liability from your employer’s insurers, your claim will succeed. At this point, your solicitor can look to help you to recover more quickly by obtaining specialist rehabilitation therapy. In the case of a manual handling injury, such rehabilitation would most likely involve osteopathic, chiropractic, physio or massage therapies. Any treatments will be provided at the expense of the third party dealing with your claim.
Settlement values vary from case to case, and are comprised of what are known as general and special damages. General damages cover the injury itself and the effect it has on your life. For instance, whether the injury affects your ability to earn money, do your job, perform your usual activities outside work and how long you are likely to experience such problems. Special damages cover the financial costs you incur because of the injury – medical treatments, travel expenses, property damage, for example.
The table below provides a guide to average compensation amounts for back injuries suffered at work, not including the special damages element of a claim:
|Severity of back injury||Compensation amount|
|Recovering within a few months||up to £1,860|
|Recovering within a few years||£1,860 – £6,000|
|Recovering within 2-5 years||£6,000 – £9,500|
|Permanent symptoms||£9,500 – £21,100|
|Serious permanent symptoms||£21,100 – £29,475|
|Chronic permanent symptoms||£29,475 – £53,000|
|Significant permanent impact||£53,000 – £67,200|
How Direct2Compensation can help with your claim
If you have suffered a manual handling-related injury at work or anywhere else, it is important to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly. Medical attention should also be sought for any injuries that you have sustained. If you haven’t done this already, we can help you to do so.
Direct2Compensation are experts in managing injury at work compensation claims. We know your rights and can help you to understand whether you are likely to win compensation. We can advise you on important issues and how the no win no fee claims process works.
With our easy to understand claims process and ability to handle your claim quickly, simply and transparently, there are many reasons that make us the right choice when it comes to starting your manual handling claim.