A claimant will often have a claim against both the main contractor, who is responsible for the overall supervision of the site and the sub-contractor, who the claimant is working for. A
compensation claim would arise where the main contractor or sub-contractor was negligent and/or in breach of statutory duties owed to the injured claimant. A claim can also be made where the
claimant is self-employed.
The main contractor and/or sub-contractor is required to comply with obligations under the following statutory regulations:-
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These Regulations require an employer to carry out a suitable and efficient assessment of the risk to health and safety of workers
at construction sites.
- The Manual Handling Operations 1992. These impose a duty on the employer to avoid the need for employees to carry out manual handling operations at work which involve a risk of being
injured, but where it isn’t possible to avoid the risk entirely to keep the risk to a minimum. The regulations provide important guidance as to the maximum weights that can be safely lifted
manually so as to minimise the risk of injury.
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 imposes obligations on the employer to ensure that work equipment is suitable for its intended use and is not defective.
- Construction Health and Safety Welfare Regulations 1996. These Regulations require the employer to provide suitable and sufficient safe access and exit routes to and from every place of
work. The Regulations also require the employer to ensure that all plant and equipment used when carrying out construction work is of good construction and suitable for its purpose and its properly
maintained. The Regulations also require the employer to ensure that all persons carrying out construction work receive proper training.
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. These Regulations impose a duty on the employer to ensure that all lifting equipment is of adequate strength and stability.
The regulations also require employers to ensure that employees are not injured when using the equipment and there is no risk of them falling or being trapped by it.
- The Work at Height Regulations 2005. These Regulations require employers to ensure that all work at height is properly planned, properly supervised and carried out safely. The
employer is under an obligation to take sufficient measurers to prevent employees from falling and covers equipment such as scaffolds, cherry pickers, scissor lifts, mobile scaffold towers, ladders
and raised platforms. A ladder should be used only where it can be demonstrated that a more suitable form of work equipment cannot be used.
- The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 removed the presumption that a breach of the employer’s obligations created a civil liability. However breaches of the Regulations are evidence
of the employer’s negligence so are still relevant.
People working on construction sites are often injured as a result of tripping on projecting scaffold tubes, construction materials and equipment which has not been properly stored or disposed of,
defectively constructive scaffolds, the inappropriate use of ladders, the failure to provide safe access, dangerous or inappropriate machinery/work equipment and exposure to hazardous
substances. Accidents are also caused by defective materials, lack of training, failure to carry out proper risk assessments and falling objects.