Friday, 19 February 2010

Warning on staff injuries

Shropshire employers whose staff are injured on a client’s premises must take care as they could be held responsible.

Alison Carter, who leads our Personal Injury team, said even though the accident may have happened away from their usual workplace, the employer could still face a claim.

“When you send an employee to a client’s premises, responsibility for their health and safety rests between you as their company director, and the client. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are responsible for safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of their staff while they are at work – just because an incident may have happened off site does not matter.”

Alison said the client though also had some responsibility to anyone who may be on their premises, even if they were not an employee. “The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 says the client must ensure visitors to their premises are safe during their time on site, and don’t let them try to shirk their duties by passing them on to you as the person’s employer.”

She said the client must protect people against any obvious risks, such as ensuring there were no torn carpets or that there was sufficient lighting.

“If your staff regularly have to visit clients’ homes, ask them to complete a home visit checklist themselves – this will identify if there are any potential risks which you can then raise with the client. And if the worst does happen, and a member of your staff is injured, notify your insurers immediately, but don’t admit liability for their accident.

“Not only could you invalidate your insurance cover, but it’s likely the insurers will want to hear the client’s side of the story too before they make a decision on what happens next.”