My boss says I cannot make a compensation claim for a lifting injury in the office because that would make me a special case because I am a woman. Is this correct?
Irrespective of your gender, you will be able to make a compensation claim for a lifting injury in the office if you have sustained a quantifiable injury due to the negligence of your employer. Therefore, there are two conditions which have to be met before you will be entitled to claim for compensation for a lifting injury in the office – that an injury has been sustained and that your employer is responsible for it.
Establishing that an injury has been sustained is straightforward if you sought a professional medical examination immediately after your lifting injury was sustained. The diagnosis of your injury, the proposed recovery time and the treatment that was administered will all be recorded in your medical history to support your claim for a lifting injury in the office.
If you did not seek immediate medical treatment, it could be claimed by your employer that you injury was not sufficiently serious to warrant medical attention or that your injury was sustained elsewhere – in both cases it would make a compensation claim for a lifting injury in the office more difficult to prove.
The second condition that needs to be met if a claim for compensation for a lifting injury in the office is going to be successful is that your employer was in breach of his duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to work. One of the responsibilities that an employer has under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 is to conduct a risk assessment of any task before it is allocated if it presents a risk of injury.
Manual handling injuries are well-chronicled in practically all Health and Safety Executive manuals and, should your employer have assessed the risk of lifting and carrying in your office, and found that it was not necessary to introduce mechanical lifting aids, he should then have progressed with his risk assessment to ensure that the individual employees he was allocating the lifting tasks to were capable of the tasks being assigned to them.
Your employer´s argument that admitting liability in a compensation claim for a lifting injury in the office would make you a special case would seem to indicate that he has not performed the last section of his risk assessment and this would make him negligent in his duty of care to you and therefore entitle you to make a claim for compensation for a lifting injury in the office.
Your employer´s “Jack can do it then so can Jill” approach to risk assessment, and his or her attitude when you mentioned claiming compensation for a lifting injury in the office, would indicate that your employer is likely to contest a claim for a lifting injury in the office and you are advised to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an office accident claims solicitor at the first possible opportunity.