According to the HSE, fatigue is thought to cost the UK between £115,000,000 to £240,000,000 per year in terms of work accidents and on the roads it is thought to account for up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents.
The UK's 3.5 million shift workers are more at risk risk of fatigue related accidents as are workers in industries that require a great deal of repetition, working alone and working a badly organised shift pattern and working with an excessive and poorly planned workload.
Claims can be brought by workers returning home particularly after night shifts if they have been pressured to work excessive hours.
There is growing evidence of workers being placed at risk through disruptive shift patterns and zero hour contracts and in many cases workers being expected to work unpaid overtime in an attempt to defeat the minimum wage. Unpaid overtime in such circumstances is treated by the Employment Tribunal as an unlawful deduction from wages which the employer can be held to account for.
The Working Time Regulations 1998 provide that a worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when a daily working time is more than six hours and to a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours and at least one day off per week, which can be averaged over two weeks.
For young or adolescent workers, the break entitlement is 30 minutes per 4½ hours at work and also daily entitlement to 12 uninterrupted hours and two days off per week that cannot be averaged over two weeks.
Employers/ their insurers will be liable for accidents shown to have been caused or materially contributed to by failure to meet these minimum standards of care owed to staff and those they foreseeably put at risk.
Even where the worker may be partly responsible (and employers are often keen to blame the injured party for not taking more care and need to be held to account for the wider context of cumulative fatigue) the injured party will usually be entitled to compensation for their injury and losses where their momentary lapse arises from an employer's failure to manage fatigue risks. These cases require a forensic approach and records need to be obtained analysed and the case needs to be carefully presented according to the available evidence.
We understand the difficulty faced by employees in the current jobs market and wil always strive to maintain good relations on our clients behalf while holding their employer and their insurers to account. Where injuries have been caused by an employer's disregard for the risks posed by their failure to observe the minimum legal standards the courts will hold the employer primarily liable. We are able to offer expert advice in relation to tiredness and fatigue claims and represent clients in pursuing compensation for the injuries and losses sustained.
For more information call today on 01204 496898 during or out of office hours to arrange a free consultation and to arrange a home visit if required. Alternatively you can email us on this link. We can also advise and take instructions by phone, email and by post maintaining social distancing at all times.
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