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24 June 2024 | Comment | Article by Sandeep Gill

Injury Awareness Week 2024 | 24 – 28 June

To mark  Injury Awareness Week, Sandeep Gill, Partner in our Serious Injury team shares a personal story relating to a workplace incident with tragic consequences and why Hugh James supports APIL’s campaign for more to be done to reduce injury in the workplace.

This year’s Injury Awareness Week is in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (the Act) being given the Royal Assent. As a result, APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is highlighting injuries suffered in the workplace.

The Act sets out the responsibilities employers have towards their workforce. The employer is required to identify anything that could cause harm and take positive action to stop it, hear concerns and provide the correct equipment and training. In return, employees are required to cooperate, undertake training and take reasonable care.

According to the Labour Force Survey for Great Britain, during 2022/23, 561,000 workers were injured in the workplace in the UK, with agriculture, construction, and accommodation/food services recording the largest share of workplace injuries.

Graph of workplace injuries in the UK

APIL’s vision is a future without needless injuries. Whilst not all incidents can be prevented, injuries caused by negligence can and should be avoided.

In the early 1980s, my uncle was tragically killed in a workplace incident whilst working in a foundry, in the West Midlands. I was very young when the incident occurred, and sadly only have a few memories of my uncle. However, I know this incident devastated my family. He left behind my aunt and three teenage children. My aunt was suddenly a single parent and had to juggle working with raising a family. My uncle was the main breadwinner for his family, and overnight this all changed. His oldest son, who was studying for his A Levels and had aspirations of going to university was now the man of the house. He felt a duty to fill his father’s shoes, so left school without completing his A Levels and began working. Every milestone date or event that followed, birthdays, weddings, births raised mixed emotions, knowing that my uncle was not there to share in the moment. Each year as the anniversary of the incident nears my aunt is visibly mourning the loss of my uncle.

I wonder how different life may have been for my aunt and my cousins. Would my cousin have completed his A Levels and gone to university? Special occasions may not have been tinged with sorrow; and my uncle would have seen his children become adults and he would have been able to play with his grandchildren.

Whilst it is encouraging that the workplace is safer than it was in the past with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reporting that workplace deaths have fallen by around 85% since The Act received Royal Assent, there are still needless injuries that could be avoided in the workplace, with some having life changing consequences.

The Serious Injury team at Hugh James specialise in supporting injured people who have suffered life changing injuries in the workplace.


Author bio

Sandeep Gill


Sandeep is a Partner in our Serious Injury team, representing both adults and children who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, polytrauma and spinal injuries. In addition, Sandeep has extensive knowledge of handling fatal accident claims.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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