Workplace Injuries: HGV Drivers.

Over the last 20 years, I have acted for hundreds of HGV drivers. You may imagine that most of the accidents they are involved in would be road traffic accidents, but over 90% of them actually involve injuries suffered while the vehicle is stationary and normally while it is being loaded or unloaded.

Due to inadequate loading, all sorts of things fall and hit drivers and on occasions drivers fall from vehicles. Sometimes there is no claim, as the accident could be the fault of the driver, but often the employer, or the employer of whoever loaded the vehicle, are responsible.

Inadequate or poorly maintained equipment is a common cause of accidents. There are strict duties placed on employers in relation to providing adequate and safe work equipment, and a HGV is considered to be work equipment. As a driver, it is very important that all defects are reported, in writing, so they are then repaired promptly by the employer. If the employer does not repair equipment quickly and properly, and this then causes an accident, the employer is highly likely to be at fault.

Drivers are also injured when lifting or moving the load; a common misunderstanding is that all an employer has to do to avoid manual handling claims is provide some manual handling training. However, this is incorrect; the first duty on an employer is to avoid employees having to do any manual handling if that is at all possible. This could be done by the provision of work equipment to lift the load. If that is not possible, and manual handling must be undertaken, the employer then has to take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level possible. Providing manual handling training is therefore only one of many things an employer has to do to comply with that duty.

Employers are also under a duty to provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and also, crucially, take steps to ensure that it is used. It is therefore not sufficient for an employer to simply say that they provided, for example, gloves, if they took no steps to ensure that they were used.

There are many peculiarities in the law surrounding accidents involving HGV drivers, so if you have suffered an injury and are unsure whether you have a valid claim, please get in touch and I will be happy to advise you.

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