The London Evening Standard published an article this week, stating the Metropolitan Police (MET) paid almost £1 million in compensation to employees for "largely minor injuries"
Journalists at the newspaper used the Freedom of Information Act to reveal these compensation claims, which happened between April 2008 and March 2011.
The police force paid around £14,000 to staff for slight burns, £54,000 for cuts and bruises and £252,000 for strains and sprains.
The Metropolitan Police Accident Claims Branch also paid roughly £400,000 to staff members who suffered from slips and trips in the workplace.
While many may 'tut' and say it is - 'compensation culture gone mad'. The reality is quite the opposite.
Police officers have a difficult job to do and often do it under a lot of scrutiny. They keep the rest of us safe, sometimes at the expense of their own health and wellbeing.
If I suffered personal injury at work, no matter how slight, I would probably look to claim compensation, provided I was not at fault and the incident could have been prevented.
Wouldn't you do the same?
Under government legislation, an employer has a general duty to ensure the safety of their workers while they perform duties at work.
Under Section 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations act, (1999) an employer must perform appropriate risk assessments to discover hazards in the workplace.
The act states, "Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of &ndash the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment."
Under this piece of legislation, the officers should be correct in claiming compensation for their injuries provided their employers did not correctly assess or deal with a particular hazard or problem.
While slight burns, cuts, bruises and sprains may take a short time to heal, they can still be very painful to the victim and may prevent them from doing their jobs.
Slips and trips, on the other hand, can be much worse. Victims who slip on a wet surface or trip over an obstacle can suffer from broken bones and muscle damage depending on the severity of impact.
Most of these injuries may possibly have easily been prevented if proper risk assessments had been carried out and appropriate action taken to minimise danger.
While some may still think this is a case of employees trying to make a quick buck', whatever their occupation, workers should be allowed to do their jobs without fear of suffering injury.
Finally, if these claims do seem small or minor, consider the case of a woman who suffered a lift accident at Scotland Yard in May 2008.
According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), she was trying to reach the eighth floor of the building when the lift plunged seven floors to the ground.
She suffered neck and back pain and had to receive counselling to get over a newly acquired fear of lifts.
After inspection, the lift was found to have been in dire need of repair and she received a "substantial" sum in compensation.
Would you pursue damages if this happened to you? I know I would.
Published on 2013-02-18 09:13:00
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