There are many types of accident which victims choose to claim compensation for, such falls from height, office accidents, road traffic accidents, warehouse accidents and many more. However due the fast paced working life many people are a part of, fatigue related accidents are becoming more and more common. According to the Health and Safety executive fatigue accounts for up to a quarter of serious and fatal accidents on the road. Fatigue is also thought to cost the UK £115,000,000 a year in accidents at work.
Occupations Susceptible To Fatigue
- Shift workers – Shift workers are extremely susceptible to fatigue and the accidents that come with it, as they can often work badly organized patterns and unsociable hours. The Institute for Work and Health found that the risk of suffering an accident at work is significantly increased by working inconsistent shifts.
- Drivers – Many people who drive for a living will have to make long journeys on a regular basis, spending an excessive amount of time doing something repetitive like driving can often cause fatigue.
- Doctors/Medical professionals – Hospitals are 24 hour facilities and often the people that work inside them end up doing 12+ shifts or even back to back shifts, making fatigue a highly likely consequence.
- Warehouse workers – working in a warehouse can often mean working nights, this can have an unhealthy effect on a person’s natural sleep/wake cycle, there is also likely to be a length transition period in which a worker’s body needs to adjust to needing sleep at the opposite time of day to the norm which makes suffering from fatigue more likely.
Can I Make a Claim?
Every worker has a responsibility to try and make sure to the best of their ability that they are well prepared and have enough energy to complete their job, however this is not always possible and when workers are being pressured into working long shifts back to back or into doing overtime it is highly possible that they will end up suffering from fatigue. It is also important that employers recognise this as a real risk and take steps to prevent it. The Working Time Regulations states that any worker is entitled to a 20 minute break every six hours as well as at least one day off per week and a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours.
Where these minimum standards have been abused no matter the occupation the employer may be liable if an employee has suffered an accident as a result of fatigue. Even if an employee is partly responsible for the accident e.g. accepting overtime when they know they are already too worn out, it is likely they will still be able to make a claim for compensation because their employer failed to identify that they were suffering from fatigue and therefore unsafe to work. If you have suffered an accident due to fatigue and believe that it was not your fault then you may be able to make a personal injury compensation claim.