Can I claim compensation for chemical injury at work for eye damage caused by chemicals at work? Our first aid station did not have an eye wash and my doctor told me that prompt treatment could have saved my vision.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Can I claim compensation for chemical injury at work for eye damage caused by chemicals at work? Our first aid station did not have an eye wash and my doctor told me that prompt treatment could have saved my vision.

Answer:

A claim for compensation for chemical Injury at work is possible provided that your employer has been negligent and there has been a failure in a duty of care to protect you from coming to harm. While not all accidents can be prevented, an employer has a legal responsibility to ensure that staff can receive immediate first aid. Ensuring proper primary medical care is provided in the workplace can reduce the damage caused by chemical accidents until professional medical care can be obtained from a doctor.

Under the General Application Regulations (2007) an employer must ensure that a number of staff are trained in the provision of first aid in factories and that first aid equipment is readily available. If chemicals must be used as part of day to day work duties, it is vital that the first aid equipment includes an eye wash for immediate treatment in case chemicals get in the eyes. Prompt treatment will help to ensure that any damage to the eyes is minimised and, by failing to provide this, your employer has been negligent and should be liable to pay compensation for chemical injury at work.

When items have been used in a first aid kit they must be replaced as soon as is possible. Failure to do so constitutes negligence on the part of your employer and is grounds for making a claim for compensation for chemical injury at work, even if the accident which caused your injury could not have been prevented.

The amount of compensation for chemical injury at work that you will be entitled to claim may be reduced to take any personal negligence into account. If you were not wearing safety glasses and these were provided by your employer, your employer´s insurance company will be likely to seek a reduction in compensation due to your contributory negligence. If the accident was primarily your fault this will seriously affect the chances of making a successful chemical injury at work claim.

Due to the level of disability you have suffered it is imperative that you discuss the circumstances of your chemical injury at work with a solicitor and establish that you have a claim for compensation for a chemical injury at work which is worth your while to pursue. No amount of chemical injury compensation will make up for your loss of sight; but it can make sure that you do not suffer financially as a result of the accident and your disability. In order to present the strongest possible case and to maximise your chances of successfully recovering compensation for chemical injury at work you should speak with a personal injury solicitor for claims advice as soon as possible.