Coronavirus Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment At Work Claims Guide – I Contracted Coronavirus Due To Inadequate PPE At Work, Could I Claim Compensation?
Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is used in many workplaces to protect against injury and illness. As cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) increased across the UK, staff began to ask their employers for advice on what PPE should be worn to help prevent the spread of the virus. In this guide, we’re going to look at when you could make a coronavirus PPE claim against your employer for contracting coronavirus due to inadequate personal protective equipment. It’s important to note, that to be eligible to claim, you’d need to prove you caught COVID-19 whilst at work and it was caused by a breach of your employer’s duty of care.
Legal Expert specialises in helping people claim compensation when somebody else’s negligence has caused them to suffer. We offer a no-obligation assessment of your claim as well as free legal advice. If we assess your claim and believe it could be successful, we could introduce you to a personal injury/accident at work solicitor. They’ll work on a No Win, No Fee basis if they take your claim on.
To begin a claim right away, please call our team on 0800 073 8804 today.
Alternatively, to find out more about when you could claim because of a lack of COVID-19 personal protective equipment, please continue reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Inadequate Coronavirus PPE Equipment Illness Claims
- What COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment Should Your Employer Give You?
- Coronavirus Personal Protective Equipment For Employees In Customer Facing Roles
- Personal Protective Equipment For Employees Working With People Who Have COVID-19 Symptoms
- PPE For Cleaners In Suspected Coronavirus Environments
- Do I Still Have To Wear My Work Uniform?
- Guidelines On Using And Disposing Of PPE Equipment
- Staying Safe As A Healthcare Worker
- Good Practice For Employers During The Coronavirus Pandemic
- Inadequate Coronavirus PPE Illness Compensation Claims Calculator
- Special Damages You Could Claim
- No Win No Fee Claims For Illness Caused By Inadequate COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment
- Why Choose Legal Expert?
- Start Your Claim
- Essential References
A Guide To Inadequate Coronavirus PPE Equipment Illness Claims
The impact on workplaces caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented. Many businesses have been forced to suspend business and staff told to work from home where possible. However, in some cases, essential businesses are unable to operate in this way and staff have had to continue working in the same way.
Employers have a duty of care to try and ensure the safety of their staff wherever possible. This means as coronavirus became a risk to employees, businesses could perform risk assessments and take steps to reduce any dangers where possible. One way this might be possible is to provide personal protective equipment for staff who could be exposed to the virus.
If you’re able to show the following are true, you could be entitled to make a coronavirus PPE claim for contracting coronavirus due to a lack of personal protective equipment against your employer:
- You had a confirmed case of coronavirus and not just coronavirus symptoms.
- Which you can prove you contracted while at work.
- And it was caused because your employer was negligent.
If you are going to make a claim, we advise that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. That’s because, there’s a personal injury claims time limit of 3-years in England and Wales.
In this guide, we’ll provide information on PPE that could be provided by your employer based on the type of role you perform. Also, we’ll look at infection control measures that could be used to keep you safe at work. Finally, we’ll look at how No Win, No Fee claims work and how much compensation you might be entitled to.
What COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment Should Your Employer Give You?
There are many different types of PPE that can be provided by employers. Importantly, though, the type of equipment provided can differ from role to role. Therefore, as we progress through this guide, we’ll look at what steps could be taken to reduce risks in different situations. For now, though, here are some of the items that could be provided:
- Hand sanitisers – either personal bottles or dispensing units.
- Face masks.
- Disposable gloves.
- Aprons to cover clothing and uniform.
- Protective screens.
As well as these items, infection prevention systems can be used. These include changing shift patterns so less people are in the building at the same time and implementing 2-meter zones to ensure staff are a safe distance away from each other.
Coronavirus Personal Protective Equipment For Employees In Customer-Facing Roles
There has been some coronavirus employer advice, but it is mainly aimed at healthcare professionals. Therefore, in this section, we’ll look at some practical steps which you might want to discuss with your employer if you work in a customer-facing role. Some steps that could be introduced to protect staff include:
- Limiting the number of customers who enter the premises at any one time.
- Providing staff with PPE like hand sanitiser or gloves.
- Using protective screens.
- Providing floor markings so that customers remain 2-meters from staff.
Employees might ask for face masks to be provided but, at the time of writing, this government blog only recommends them in clinical situations.
Personal Protective Equipment For Employees Working With People Who Have COVID-19 Symptoms
According to government advice (section 8.11), employees working in care homes, residential units, hospices, prisons and overnight care units should be provided with PPE including:
- Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks (FRSM).
- Plastic aprons.
- Protective gloves.
- Eye protection (based on risk assessments).
PPE For Cleaners In Suspected Coronavirus Environments
The government’s advice referred to earlier is targeted at clinical situations. However, advice from Unison, says that if you’re asked to clean buildings with confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus, you should be provided with:
- Disposable gloves.
- Disposable aprons.
Those two items of PPE are the minimum requirement according to Unison. In cases where there’s a higher contamination risk, cleaners could also be given a face mask and eye protection if necessary, ”Cleaning rooms that have been slept in by suspected sufferers of COVID-19, where there is visible contamination with body fluids, then surgical face masks and eye protection should be considered.”
If you’ve had a confirmed case of coronavirus and can show that it was caused by a lack of suitable personal protective equipment in a cleaning environment with confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus, you could be eligible for compensation. Please discuss your claim with a member of our team for free advice on your options.
Do I Still Have To Wear My Work Uniform?
The advice from Unison on this question is that any PPE like an apron should prevent staff uniforms from becoming contaminated. However, employers could provide changing rooms, additional uniforms, laundry services and financial support for staff working in infected areas.
Guidelines On Using And Disposing Of PPE Equipment
As mentioned earlier, it’s really important that staff are trained on how to use personal protective equipment. Hopefully, this will mean the equipment is as effective as possible.
For instance, fit testing for a face mask should be explained to ensure it forms a seal around the wearers face. Also, it’s important that PPE is removed in the correct way to reduce the risk of any contamination spreading onto clothing or the body.
Staying Safe As A Healthcare Worker
The government have provided some safe methods of working for healthcare workers. These are practical steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection. They include:
- Providing training for all staff to demonstrate how to put on and remove PPE. Videos have been created for this purpose.
- Ensuring staff have the personal protective equipment available for the type of work they’re carrying out.
- Making sure that staff know what type of PPE is required for the scenario they’re working in.
- Disposing of gloves and aprons after each use in line with Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs).
- Using fluid repellent face masks and eye protection for each work session rather than each patient.
- Ensuring staff conduct good hand hygiene after the removal of PPE. This is to be extended up any exposed forearms.
- Making sure staff are able to take regular rest periods and breaks.
- Using surgical gowns or coveralls in higher risk areas. These can be used for a session of work rather than for each patient.
If not been able to follow these guidelines, and it’s caused you to contract coronavirus, we may be able to help you claim compensation if you can prove you contracted it while at work. Please call the number at the top of the screen for further information
Good Practice For Employers During The Coronavirus Pandemic
ACAS, the arbitration service for employers and employees have provided some advice on good practice employers can use to continue to meet their duty of care during the pandemic. Their advice includes:
- Ensure social distancing measures are observed by staff in the workplace.
- Use video conferencing or telephone conferencing for meetings to reduce travel where possible.
- Be mindful, or vulnerable employees such as the over-70s or those with long-term health problems.
- Train managers on the symptoms of coronavirus. Also, ensure they’re aware of any processes such as sickness reporting.
- Provide areas for hand-washing with hot water and soap. Also, encourage staff to wash their hands regularly.
- Update the staff contact details database including emergency contact numbers.
- Where possible, provide hand sanitisers for staff. This could be in pots or dispensers. Try to encourage staff to use them regularly.
Also, employers could bear in mind the extra time it takes to put on and remove PPE and allow time for this to happen. If this is expected to be carried out at the end of a shift, staff may rush and this could result in extra contamination.
Inadequate Coronavirus PPE Illness Compensation Claims Calculator
So, we’ve looked at when an employer’s negligence might lead to coronavirus. Now it’s time to look at potential compensation payments. Importantly, we can’t provide exact estimates here because every claim is different. Instead of using a personal injury claims calculator, we’ve provided the table below. It contains compensation amounts for different injuries. These figures are for the injuries themselves, there are more things that could be included in a claim which we’ll cover in the next section.
|Lung Injuries||Up to £65,710||This bracket includes diseases which lead to significant and worsening lung function. The symptoms will also cause prolonged coughing, impaired breathing and some sleep disturbance. There will also be an impact on physical activity and the ability to work.|
|Lung Injuries||Up to £29,380||This bracket covers symptoms like Bronchitis and wheezing which aren't serious but there will varying levels of anxiousness about the future.|
|Lung Injuries||Up to £19,510||This bracket covers symptoms like slight breathlessness. Recovery will tend to take around 2 years but there won't be an impact on the ability to work.|
|Lung Injuries||Up to £5,000||Temporary aggravation of bronchitis or other chest problems resolving within a very few months.|
The figures come from a legal document used by solicitors, insurance companies and courts called the Judicial College Guidelines. It is used to try and determine compensation amounts for different types of injury. Importantly, the amounts are assigned based on the severity of your suffering. It’s therefore imperative that your solicitor can demonstrate this accurately. To do this, as part of the claims process, your solicitor will arrange for an independent doctor to assess you. They’ll review how you suffered, what impact it caused and whether they’ll be any ongoing suffering.
Special Damages You Could Claim
There are two main financial parts to a personal injury claim. These are general and special damages. General damages we covered in the previous section and they’re designed to compensate for pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your illness.
Special damages, however, are paid to compensate you for any financial costs you’ve incurred, or are likely to incur, because of your illness. Here are some examples of special damages that you could claim:
- Care Costs.
If you need somebody to look after you while recovering from coronavirus, you might be able to include any costs in your claim. For instance, you could claim for the time of a family member who supported you or professional carer’s fees.
- Medical Expenses.
If you’re hospitalised because of coronavirus, you’ll receive medication to support you free as part of your treatment. However, if you self-isolate, you may have to pay for prescription medicine or over the counter treatments while recovering. Therefore, it could be possible to claim these costs back.
- Travelling Costs.
As the government’s advice is to stay at home and self-isolate, it’s unlikely you’ll need to travel while showing the symptoms of COVID-19. However, after the isolation is over, if you need to travel for medical appointments, you could ask for the cost of fuel or parking fees to be compensated.
- Lost Income.
Depending on the way your employee deals with sick pay, you might lose income when you take time off work to self-isolate or while in hospital. Therefore, you could ask for the lost income to be included in your claim. If there are any long-term symptoms which affect your ability to work, you could claim for future loss of earning too.
No Win No Fee Claims For Illness Caused By Inadequate COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment
When making any type of personal injury claim, the first thing people tend to worry about is the cost of hiring a solicitor. That’s why our solicitors work on a No Win, No Fee basis. This reduces the stress involved with claiming, as well as the financial risk and gives you the confidence to claim the compensation you could be rightfully entitled to.
The process will begin with an assessment of your claim by the solicitor. If they believe the claim could be successful, you’ll be given a No Win, No Fee agreement to sign. This document is legally known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) and it’s a contract between you and the solicitor.
The CFA will explain that there are no upfront fees to pay, none during the claim and if the case is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay solicitor’s fees either. When a claim is won, the CFA will explain that a success fee will be deducted from your compensation to cover the solicitor’s fees. These are legally capped and the exact amount you’ll pay will be clearly shown in the CFA.
Why Choose Legal Expert?
Legal Expert has been providing free advice to potential claimants for many years. We’ve also got loads of great feedback from previous clients. Here are some more reasons why you should let us help you make a claim:
- Our team of advisors offer a no-obligation assessment of your claim.
- We operate a claims line that’s open 24-7.
- If you begin a claim with us, your solicitor will advise on the claims process and explain any legal jargon along the way. They’ll also provide regular updates.
- All claims are handled on a No Win, No Fee
- Our solicitors always aim to ensure that you receive the correct amount of compensation for your suffering.
Start Your Claim
You’ve now come to the end of this guide about claiming after contracting coronavirus due to a lack of personal protective equipment. If you believe you can show that you contracted the virus at work and it was caused by a lack of PPE, we could help you begin a claim. Here are the best ways to get in touch with us:
- Call our team of specialist advisors on 0800 073 8804
- Email details of your claim to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ask for a call back from a member of our team by completing this online claims form.
- Or, if you prefer, you can connect with an online advisor using live chat.
We’ll begin the claims process by reviewing your case in a no-obligation assessment. We’ll look at what happened, how you suffered and who you blame for becoming ill. Then we’ll review the evidence you can supply. If your claim looks viable, we could introduce you to one of our personal injury solicitors. If they agree your claim could be successful, they’ll offer to work with you on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Hopefully, you’ve managed to acquire all of the information you need to decide whether you’ll begin a claim. To assist you further, here are some more of our guides as well as some useful external resources.
Your Rights Following An Accident At Work – Information about worker’s rights and when personal injury claims could be made following an accident in the workplace.
Lung Disease Claims – A guide that explains when you could claim compensation for lung disease.
Claim For A Health & Safety Breach – Information on when you could use a personal injury lawyer to claim for suffering caused by a health & safety breach.
Coronavirus Advice – This is the main NHS site providing up to date information and advice about the coronavirus pandemic.
COIVD-19 Information – The main hub of information, statistics and instructions from the UK Government.
Personal Protective Equipment – While not specifically about COVID–19 PPE, this guide from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) explains when and why PPE should be provided.
Written By Hambridge
Edited By Melissa.