Can compensation for roof injuries at work be claimed for a scaffolding collapse if another employee was entirely to blame for the accident?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Can compensation for roof injuries at work be claimed for a scaffolding collapse if another employee was entirely to blame for the accident?

Answer:

You may be entitled to claim compensation for roof injuries at work provided that the scaffolding accident was the result of your employer´s negligence. Although your employer did not directly cause the accident, it does not mean that your employer has not been negligent. Your employer is ultimately responsible for the actions of all staff, must ensure that they are competent and that scaffolding has been constructed correctly and is safe to use.

If an employee had been given the task of constructing scaffolding, the scaffolding should have been checked by a supervisor before work on the roof was allowed to commence. If a member of staff was incompetent or lacked the necessary training to construct the scaffolding, they should not have been permitted to perform the job. A lack of training, supervision or using unskilled workers can place lives at risk and constitutes employer negligence and a failure in a duty of care to you. As such, you should be entitled to claim compensation for roof injuries at work against your employer’s liability insurance policy for failing to ensure that the scaffolding was constructed correctly.

An employer must ensure that the workplace is safe and is responsible for all health and safety issues on construction sites. When working at a height is necessary, efforts must be made to ensure that appropriate health and safety equipment is employed to reduce the distance of a fall. Guard rails should be installed to further reduce the risk of a fall and safety harnesses must be used as appropriate. Your employer has a legal responsibility to reduce risks of a roof accident at work to the minimum practical level, and must also take steps to reduce the distance which can be fallen should an roof accident occur.

If another employee caused the accident, and you sustained an injury which could have been prevented had the correct personal protective equipment been supplied, this constitutes employer negligence and a claim for roof injury compensation should be possible. Only if health and safety equipment was provided and you chose not to use it would it not be possible for you to claim compensation for roof injuries at work.

There are many factors which can affect your right to claim compensation for roof injuries at work and the amount of compensation you will be entitled to receive. The procedures that you followed after the accident can also affect a claim for compensation for roof injuries at work. We therefore recommend that you discuss your roof injuries claim with a personal injury solicitor before initiating a claim for compensation for roof injuries at work through the Injuries Board.