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Standing Up For Injury Compensation

17th December 2013

There can be circumstances where a claim for accident compensation can be directly linked to a cause, which was not at first readily recognised by the victim and indeed, may be robustly denied by a defendant.

It may not be very well known but there have been instances where injury claims were sought for the impact on long term physical health or the aggravation of a pre-existing medical condition by the requirements for company employees to stand (or sit) for exceptionally long periods in the workplace.

Some previous estimates suggest that more than eleven million people or around 5 in 10 of UK workers are expected to spend the majority of their workshift on their feet, which can cause a number of health risks or personal injury.

The implications should not be underestimated. In 2010, the UK hospitality sector (inc: hotel, restaurant and catering) employed nearly 8 per cent – or 1 in 13 - of the working population, i.e. around 2.44 million jobs.

Unsurprisingly, employees in minimum wage, low or semiskilled work are also most likely to be vulnerable to potentially hazardous health and safety conditions. Foremost, will be those working on the shop floors in the retail sector and manning factory assembly lines in manufacturing industries. Other examples of occupations where the requirement is to be standing for most of the working day, include security, hairdressing, nursing and hospital work.

Undoubtedly, there are short to medium term minor physical injuries which can manifest themselves when standing for long periods. Workers are twice as likely to suffer back pain and the cumulative strain on the lower limbs can produce fatigue and discomfort from swollen, aching muscles, pressure on the hip, knee and ankle joints and lead to a range of foot ailments.

While many might feel they would abstain from pursuing injury compensation for instances of the above symptoms, it should be noted that doctors, GPS and other health professionals point to the links between long periods of standing to particular medical complaints such as varicose veins, another related condition when the veins are unable to return the blood to the heart and to exacerbating a pre-existing heart condition.

In some types of industries, the prevailing attitude among employers is that staff who are standing create a better impression with customers, however it is a legal requirement for employers to provide suitable seats if their staff are able to perform all or most of their duties while sitting down.

In addition, it should be reasonably expected that rest breaks should be arranged and adjustable chairs made available, where practicably possible.