My employer says that I am not eligible to make power tool accident compensation claims for an injury I got from a drill because I was using it incorrectly. Is he right?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

My employer says that I am not eligible to make power tool accident compensation claims for an injury I got from a drill because I was using it incorrectly. Is he right?

Answer:

There are two possible scenarios that will determine your eligibility to make power tool accident compensation claims against your employer – the first being a lack of risk assessment, training and supervision by your employer, and the second being your own contributory negligence.

Before any job is undertaken in the workplace, your employer has to conduct a risk assessment to identify the possible hazards to health that are attached to a task and eliminate the risk of injury by either modifying the nature of the task or providing personal protective equipment to the employee allocated the job.

To protect himself against power tool accident compensation claims, the employer should inform his employee of the risks associated with the task, give training on how to perform the task safely (and removed from the job if they are incapable of doing it) and supervise the employee while performing the job in order to ensure that they follow the instructions provided for their health and safety.

If your employer has followed these stages correctly, and nobody else has come to harm in the workplace due to your employer´s failure in his duty of care, you may not be eligible to make a claim for power tool accident compensation as it will be considered that your own negligent actions were responsible for your injuries.

Consequently, it is recommended that you discuss the circumstances of your power tool accident with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. As your employer has already indicated that he will not accept liability for your injuries, any application made to the Injuries Board Ireland for an assessment of a power tool accident compensation claim is likely to be rejected and, if your employer is indeed liable for your injuries, you may have to pursue a claim for power tool accident compensation through the courts.