Industrial Accident Compensation

Is it possible to claim industrial accident injury compensation for chemical burns caused by an acid spill at work? I was wearing the protective clothing provided by my employer but I still suffered severe burns to my hands and arms.

Question:

Is it possible to claim industrial accident injury compensation for chemical burns caused by an acid spill at work? I was wearing the protective clothing provided by my employer but I still suffered severe burns to my hands and arms.

Answer:

In order to be eligible to claim industrial accident injury compensation you must be able to establish and prove that the accident in which you sustained a personal injury was the result of your employer´s negligence and there was a failure in a duty of care to protect you from coming or harm at work. If this is the case, and provided that the accident was not primarily your fault, it should be possible to claim industrial accident injury compensation against your employer´s insurance policy.

All employers must ensure that the workplace is safe and risks to employees are reduced to the minimum practical levels under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005). The use of chemicals in the workplace is also subject to strict rules and regulations and under these regulations employers are legally bound to ensure that full training on the use of chemicals is provided, that staff are competent in their use and dangerous chemicals in the workplace are stored appropriately.

Employers must also conduct a chemical risk assessment to identify potential hazards and steps should be taken to reduce the risk of accidents to the minimum level. If your employer has breached any of the above regulations it constitutes a failure in a duty of care and you should be eligible to make a claim for industrial accident injury compensation if your employer´s breach in his or her duty of care has directly led to you sustaining a personal injury.

It appears that your employer has taken some steps to ensure that you were properly protected, such as by providing personal protective clothing; however in your case this appears to have been insufficient. Since you were wearing the personal protective clothing and still suffered chemical burns, it could be indicative that it was inappropriate or insufficient and may not have complied with Council Directive 89/686/EEC. If the clothing provided was not up to this standard it constitutes employer negligence and an industrial accident injury compensation claim should be possible.

Establishing employer negligence in this particular case is far from straightforward and it is therefore strongly advisable to discuss the circumstances of your workplace accident with a personal injury solicitor if you are considering making an industrial accident injury compensation claim for chemical burns.