Accidents that resulted in major bone fractures, amputations and other potentially life threatening and often life-changing injuries affected nearly two thousand employees in the nation’s schools last year. That is an astonishing number considering that most people, especially the parents’ of children attending school, would like to consider schools to be one of the safer environments in our society. In total over seven thousand schools’ employees suffered an injury significant enough to have to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive. What is going on?
Those seven thousand employees represent valuable, experienced staff whose services were lost to the schools they worked in for a minimum of a week, at best and usually for much, much longer in the majority of cases. They also represent seven thousand individual experiences of pain and suffering; some of which would be of short duration but a proportion of which would herald the beginning of short, medium or long term disability and prove to be life changing in all sorts of unexpected and disagreeable ways.
Most of the accidents these seven thousand were involved in were preventable, most weren’t the victims’ fault and many no doubt resulted in phone calls to specialist personal injury solicitors from the shocked and indignant injured employees. Does it make any sense to let this number of accidents continue to happen year after year, for schools hard won reputations to be tarnished by their record of preventable accidents and for injured employees to feel so understandably angered at suffering an accident that wasn’t their fault that they make a work accident compensation claim against the very people who employ them?
Obviously not; it is a dysfunctional situation, predominantly caused by the salami slicing approach to cost reduction in which risk, the living, breathing kernel of health and safety in the workplace can no longer be effectively managed despite a sincere desire on the part of schools to be able to do so.
Everyone is a loser, except perhaps the claims solicitors and their role is actually of crucial importance in two major respects; firstly ensuring that their clients receive the compensation to which they are entitled and which might prove essential to their future wellbeing if their injury was a major one, and secondly in highlighting the health and safety deficiencies which caused their client’s injuries.