Sustaining a head or brain injury as a result of an accident at work can be particularly debilitating and can have far reaching consequences, not only for the employee concerned but also those closest to them. In addition to the medical ramifications there are often physical, mental and emotional consequences as well.
Unfortunately, when these types of injuries occur at work they are all too often the result of health and safety failings on the part of employers.
Crush Injuries Lead to Brain Damage
In one case recently reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an employee suffered brain damage after being crushed by hangar doors.
She worked for a flight support company at Luton Airport and was opening the doors of a hangar to move aircraft inside. However, as she moved one of the doors she became trapped causing crushing injuries resulting in severe brain damage.
When the HSE investigated the incident it found that the company failed to conduct an adequate planning exercise or provide adequate training and written instructions.
“The injured person’s family have been left devastated after this incident,” commented HSE inspector Andrew McGill. “Her husband gave up work to care for her daily and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“Employers must provide suitable systems of work, training, information and supervision to ensure safety,” he added. “If a safe system of work had been in place prior to this incident, it could have prevented the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee.”
Falls from Height
In some cases, a head injury at work is the result of a fall from height, as demonstrated in a HSE case involving a worker who sustained head and arm injuries after falling from a water treatment tank.
He was employed by a water treatment system manufacturer and was performing welding work on top of a large water treatment vessel. He had used a ladder to access the top of the vessel, but this ladder was not tied and slipped, causing the employees to fall as he started to climb down. He was knocked unconscious and sustained bruising to the brain, as well as breaking his left wrist in several places.
Company Failed to Prepare and Plan for the Work
The subsequent investigation by HSE found that the company should have properly prepared for the work. Proper planning would have identified the dangers of falls, and allowed the company to provide suitable work equipment, including platforms with guard rails and suitable access. The company should also have identified the need to train and instruct their staff in the safe way to work.
“The contractor’s injuries were significant and he could have easily been killed,” said HSE inspector Emma Madeley. “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working, provide proper equipment and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working,” she added. “If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, these serious injuries could have been avoided.”
If you have received a head or brain injury at work then speak to one of our specialist personal injury lawyers today to find out more about claiming compensation.