Decrease in Personal Injury Claims in 2020 due to impacts of pandemic

Shannon Chamber HR is a dedicated HR and Employment Law Support Service for members of Shannon Chamber provided in partnership with Adare Human Resource Management, experts in Employment Law, Industrial Relations, Human Resources and Health & Safety at preferential rates.

The latest Annual Report from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) highlights a significant drop in the number of applications it received in 2020, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19. Derek McKay, Managing Director at Adare Human Resource Management also confirms that his consultancy’s research for the HR Barometer echoes PIAB’s findings.

According to PIAB’s Annual Report, there was a decrease of 16% in the total number of applications it received last year with just over 26,000 claims. The total compensation awarded also saw a decrease, down €70m to €206m.

Of the applications received, 13% relate to Employer’s Liability. However, while the number is relatively low, the average amount awarded is higher than that for Motor and Public Liability at €30,558, up slightly on 2019 at €29,859.

A breakdown of the types of claims submitted shows

  • 22% of injuries at the workplace were related to a fall caused slipping, tripping or stumbling
  • 20% of accidents related to overexertion or strenuous movement or repetitive movements.
  • accidents as a result of falling or thrown or projected items made up 15.5%
  • 5% of accidents were caused by being caught, crushed or jammed in or between objects.

Just over a quarter (26%) of accidents occurred in a factory or plant, 12.5% occurred in an industrial or construction setting, 11.5% happened in a shop while one in ten occurred in a health service area.

Research carried out for the Adare Human Resource Management HR Barometer found that just 16% of Organisations experienced a PI Claim in 2020; down considerably from 41% in 2019 and 27% in 2018. However, this is not that surprising considering the number of employees working from home as a result of the pandemic and public health restrictions.

Given the significant average amount awarded for Employer’s Liability, and the fact that 42% of claims are as a result of what could be considered potentially preventable accidents, Organisations should not overlook or underestimate the importance of health and safety training and ensuring appropriate procedures are in place.

We have previously written about employers’ responsibilities under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 but it is worth reminding yourself particularly in light of plans to return employees to the workplace. Under the Act employers are obliged to:

  • Carry out an analysis or risk assessment of employee workstations; particularly important if employees are coming back into the workplace.
  • Provide information to employees in relation to measures which have been implemented, particularly if there have been changes since they moved to remote working,
  • Provide training to employees in the use of workstations before commencing work with display screen equipment and whenever the organisation of the workstation is modified
  • Perform a further analysis or risk assessment where an employee transfers to a new workstation or significant new work equipment, change of equipment or new technology is introduced at an individual’s workstation. Our experience is that many Organisations are looking at implementing a hybrid model that involves hot-desking so this is important to note.
  • Ensure that the provision of an appropriate eye and eyesight test is made available to every employee.

At Adare Human Resource Management through Shannon Chamber HR, we have a training and assessment platform to help employers remain compliant. Employees can do the training online, where they are taken through a series of exercises and questions to identify potential risks. They then complete the assessment element, which produces a report for the employer to analyse and take any corrective measures. It is a simple, yet effective way to help mitigate PI claims.

If your Organisation requires support with Training, Risk Assessments or updating your Safety Statements, our expert team is on hand to help.

Why Shannon Chamber HR?

  • Access to solutions-focused advice and support on HR and Employment Law queries for your Organisation provided by the experienced expert-led team at Adare Human Resource Management, giving you peace of mind that you can effectively manage any employment or HR issues that may arise. For information on the full range of services and supports provided, click here.

For further information on the HR and Employment Law support services provided, to arrange a meeting or to receive a quote, contact the team at Shannon Chamber – / 061 360 611