Can I claim inadequate protection injury compensation for burns to my hands due to poor quality protective gloves? My employer told me I cannot claim personal injury compensation as safety equipment was provided.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Can I claim inadequate protection injury compensation for burns to my hands due to poor quality protective gloves? My employer told me I cannot claim personal injury compensation as safety equipment was provided.

Answer:

If you sustained a personal injury in the workplace while using the personal protective equipment provided by your employer, you may be entitled to claim inadequate protection injury compensation. Provided that you used the protective gloves as instructed by your employer and the accident which caused your injuries was not entirely your fault – such as by carelessness on your part – your employer will be liable for your injuries and his insurance company should cover your claim for inadequate protection injury compensation.

It is the legal responsibility of an employer to ensure that the workplace is safe and that employees are able to perform their duties without an excessive risk of sustaining an injury. Part of an employer’s responsibilities includes the provision of personal protective equipment; however an employer’s responsibilities do not end there. All health and safety equipment must be properly maintained and replaced as it wears and when its functionality deteriorates.

An employer must ensure that staff are properly trained to perform tasks correctly and that instruction is provided on the proper techniques to use in order to reduce the risk of injury. All personal protective equipment must comply with Council Directive 89/686/EEC and be of a sufficient standard for the tasks which an employee has been asked to perform. Health and safety gloves may comply with these standards for certain duties in the workplace, but not for others. If you were using the safety gloves as instructed and you suffered burns to your hands, the gloves could have been faulty or insufficient.

Since your employer has already indicated that he is unwilling to accept responsibility for your injuries, your next step should be to seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor. A personal injury solicitor will instruct you on the evidence which needs to be collected to support a claim for inadequate protection injury compensation and the steps you must take next in order to start the legal claims process.

Although it is possible to pursue a claim without legal assistance through the Personal Injuries Board, since your employer has already denied liability it is likely that a claim for inadequate protection injury compensation will be contested. As such it will be in your best interests to prepare the strongest possible case to present to the Injuries Board Ireland and a personal injury solicitor is in the best position to help you in this regard.