A work accident can have numerous causes however one theme that runs through many different types of work accident relates to a lack of training or a lack of availability of literature or manuals on how best to carry out a process or how equipment should be used to ensure that the health and safety of the employed personnel is not compromised. Hand in glove with training, manuals and literature goes the need to use safety equipment or wear protective clothing which will inevitably be outlined in training courses, manuals or literature if a particular process requires such protection. Employers are required by law to ensure that their staff are adequately protected from injury whilst at work, to ensure that co-workers are also adequately trained and made aware of the full process which they are to undertake and to ensure that all literature and manuals are made available to those who are actually carrying out the process or are using the machinery.
Where protocol demands the use of safety equipment or protective clothing it is not enough for management and/or employers to simply provide the gear, there is a positive requirement that employees must use safety equipment or wear protective clothing on threat of dismissal from employment if they fail to do so. An employee who flouts the safety rules can still claim against the employer as there is a positive burden placed on employers to force the use of safety procedure failing which the employee should be dismissed instantly. If an employee is injured in such circumstances a court may consider there to have been a contributory element of negligence and may reduce damages by an appropriate percentage dependent on managements previous attitude to employees flouting the rules and taking risks with their own wellbeing.
It goes without saying that there is also a requirement that all machinery and equipment is fully maintained in first class order and this also relates to safety equipment and protective clothing which must be part of a regular inspection regime to ensure that it is in good order any time it may be required for use in a particular process. Failure to adequately maintain equipment, including safety equipment and protective clothing, may result in criminal charges against directors or employers in certain work accident circumstances particularly those incidences that involve fatality.