Q: I am employed by a local builder. Last week he sent me on a job that involved me working off a flat roof. The roof gave way and I fell through. I landed awkwardly and broke my ankle in three places, which means I cannot work. I said to him I hoped he was insured because I would be claiming compensation. He said I should consider whether I wanted to keep my job. In other words, he was threatening that I would lose my job if I tried to claim. With COVID and the unemployment situation I cannot afford to lose my job. What should I do?
A: Firstly, if you are dismissed you will have a very good case for unfair dismissal – either from pure unfairness or because you are dismissed for reason relating to health and safety.
The law is also clear that your employer could be liable on grounds of negligence for certain accidents you have at work and injuries that you suffer as a result of those accidents. Fines for this can be heavy.
From what you say, it sounds as if your employer might have failed to carry out a risk assessment and/or provide you with the correct equipment to carry out the job you were asked to perform. This in itself would be an offence. Certainly, if your injuries are serious enough to prevent you from working you will have a case for claiming compensation.
You should seek legal advice as soon as possible from a local reputable injury lawyer who can also look at other issues, such as whether you were given the correct training for the job, provided with personal safety and protective equipment, advised how to report an accident and how to document it in the accident book etc.
This question has been answered by James Denton a Solicitor with GHP Legal.