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My Employer Does Not Seem To Care - Health & Safety

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Hello everyone

 

I had been off work for several months this year, due to ill health. I had two operations, one to remove a herniated disc from my cervical spine and the second for impingment in my shoulder.

 

Before my return back to work, my employer asked if there was anything they could do, to help me on my return. I said that I would ask my Surgeon.

 

He wrote a letter to my employer explaining that he considered that due to my injuries certain equipment should be provided to assist my recovery.

 

Upon my return to work, I was a little taken aback to find that the equipment suggested by my Surgeon had not been provided. There was also no formal return to work with my line manager. Instead there was a quick informal chat. I was told that as I had my second operation, the equipment requested by my Surgeon was no longer needed.

 

Over the following few weeks, the tasks involved in my job, continued to cause me pain. Finally my employer did a risk assessment for my desk.

 

I was told

 

An ergonomic mouse and keyboard would not help me.

If it hurts to use a mouse with one hand, I should use the other.

They could not change my chair as it was the only type they have.

I could not have a headset for my phone, due to the cost and that everyone else will want one.

 

During this time, I was and still am going to physio, as the road to recovery is going to be a long one (18 months plus)

 

I have also been attending regular follow up consultations with my surgeon.

 

He has sent my employer a second letter, this time he has strongly recommend that I am provided with additional equipment to prevent a reoccurance of my injuries.

 

My employer has again ignored his recommendations.

 

I could understand if I was asking for the world but all I need is a different keyboard and mouse. A headset would be very helpful.

 

I am now not sure what to do, as I am in daily pain and have had to take additional time off work since my return because of it.

 

I would appreciate comments and suggestions as I am lost at the moment and don't know really where to turn

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Hello everyone

 

I had been off work for several months this year, due to ill health. I had two operations, one to remove a herniated disc from my cervical spine and the second for impingment in my shoulder.

 

Before my return back to work, my employer asked if there was anything they could do, to help me on my return. I said that I would ask my Surgeon.

 

He wrote a letter to my employer explaining that he considered that due to my injuries certain equipment should be provided to assist my recovery.

 

Upon my return to work, I was a little taken aback to find that the equipment suggested by my Surgeon had not been provided. There was also no formal return to work with my line manager. Instead there was a quick informal chat. I was told that as I had my second operation, the equipment requested by my Surgeon was no longer needed.

 

Over the following few weeks, the tasks involved in my job, continued to cause me pain. Finally my employer did a risk assessment for my desk.

 

I was told

 

An ergonomic mouse and keyboard would not help me.

If it hurts to use a mouse with one hand, I should use the other.

They could not change my chair as it was the only type they have.

I could not have a headset for my phone, due to the cost and that everyone else will want one.

 

During this time, I was and still am going to physio, as the road to recovery is going to be a long one (18 months plus)

 

I have also been attending regular follow up consultations with my surgeon.

 

He has sent my employer a second letter, this time he has strongly recommend that I am provided with additional equipment to prevent a reoccurance of my injuries.

 

My employer has again ignored his recommendations.

 

I could understand if I was asking for the world but all I need is a different keyboard and mouse. A headset would be very helpful.

 

I am now not sure what to do, as I am in daily pain and have had to take additional time off work since my return because of it.

 

I would appreciate comments and suggestions as I am lost at the moment and don't know really where to turn

 

It would appear that the reason you wont get the items is purely down to cost !.

 

Is it a large company ?. Is there a HR department or a higher manager you can approach ? Is there a contract/HR book/H & S guidelines in the office ?

 

Andy

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Thanks AndyDD

 

It is a small but a very well funded organisation. I can't really say more without revealing who I work for.

 

The person that came to check my desk was appointmented by our Human Resources department.

 

Our internal policy says that they will make reasonal adjustments as per the DDA.

 

I agree that cost is a major factor in relation to the provision of the equipment recommended by my surgeon.

 

I am a little concerned about pusing the issue at work, in case they say that I am no longer capable of doing my job.

 

Kinda feel stuck between a rock and a hard place and not sure what to do, suffer in silience or risk my job

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There are organisations that help fund the costs of chairs etc. Contact your local job centre for details of "access to work" and you get a govvernment grant so costs the employer nothing. Shaw trust arranged to have my othopaedic chair supplied.

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Hi MrsI,

 

try this HSE leaflet and see if it helps. I was on the HSE site earlier looking for something for a different reason and came across this.

 

Hope it helps,

 

M

 

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg397.pdf


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ALL unsolicited PMs and E-mails should be posted up - Not all on CAG are who they appear to be

 

 

My views are my own. If in doubt, seek professional advice. If I can help though, I will. CAG helped me!!

 

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Thank you, I was also reading the HSE site earlier.

 

I think my problem is that there is no definition of what is reasonable. Our internal Health & Safety policy says that they will do eveything reasonable.

 

The question is, is it reasonable for my employer to pay for a telephone headset, ergonomic mouse, keyboard and a chair with more support.

 

There is a possibility that my injuries were caused as a result of my job (I have no interest in seeking damages, as I really like my job) and that unless the equipment is changed, I could have a reoccurance of the injuries.

 

Just unsure what obligations, if any my employer has to preventing a reoccurance

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I'd start by asking the HR bod if you can see the risk assessment. staff usually play a part in writing these.

 

The contents of the RA may not be correct.

 

If, within that document, a risk has been recognised, then your employer has an obligation to assess that risk and act accordingly. 'Reasonable' can be defined from that point.

 

M


________________________________________________________________

ALL unsolicited PMs and E-mails should be posted up - Not all on CAG are who they appear to be

 

 

My views are my own. If in doubt, seek professional advice. If I can help though, I will. CAG helped me!!

 

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Unbelieveable how some employers treat their staff. Quite simply dont take any of their crap when it comes to your health at work.

 

The following is from that Health & Safety at work Act.

 

"the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work."

 

You state that you have had an operation on your back. Back problems are the one of UK largest cause of long term sick leave.

 

It is essential that you are provided with the proper chair that supports your back. The costs is of no consequence here as you have a proven medical reason. You should email your HR immediately and state that you require a new chair as your current chair could A) cause your back problems to get worse and result in sick leave B) cause delay in your recovery. Remind them of your surgeons letter and that you are not prepared to let the matter go on, and that you can report the company to the HSE for failing to look after the welfare on an employeee with an identified medical condition. Go to your doctor and ask for a letter (he may charge) to say that you need a proper chair.

 

Keep everythin in writing, no phone calls. Any meetings should be witnessed and minuted.

 

If you are having any health issues at work and your employer is not actively helping then they are at huge risk. The HSE take this very seriously.

 

You should take this very seriously, if you could not work due to ill health how would you pay your mortgage? your health is your number one priority and you should emphasise that to your employer.

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Thank you Mr Government.

 

I was pulled aside by my Manager on Friday. To say that a meeting has been arranged for me with the Head of our HR department to discuss the situation on Monday.

 

Not sure if that is a good thing or not, but fingers crossed it is not a capability meeting.

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It seems, that from what you are saying, there is no capability issue. You can do the job, so long as they provide the means for you to do so.

If they had employed a wheelchair bound person, or someone that had become wheel chair bound, they would have to provide disabled access, widened corridors etc, unless they can not reasonably do that i.e.the building is of a limited size, and the room partitions/corridors are of brick, not dry wall etc.

 

Thus in essence you have a disability. They cannot discriminate against you because of that. However, due the British legal system, from which there is not often justice, it could be very difficult to win in this case. You may get a ruling on the case in your favour, but it does not stop the company/managers from making your life hell. They will always find a way of getting rid of you if thats what they want. In their eyes, all they care about is profit and figures. Usually, proving they can supply the figures expected/they promised to their boss, they don't tend to care.

If you need special equipment, that may start the rest of the company asking for new/appropriate equipment (I bet that everyone has the bare minimum, basic equipment. I would also hazard a guess that the vast majority of employees work stations do not follow the legal requirements of health and safety - height, screen glare control, rsi control, elimination of trip hazards etc.), which would blow their target, in turn blow their bosses target, then no manager gets their bonus that month.

furthermore, if there is the possibility that you may be ill further, or through their negligence, you may be off work further, they will be eager to get rid of you.

 

If you employer does not supply you with the equipment you need to complete the job they expect of you, you are not obliged to do that job. Its like maternity, they cannot discriminate but have to accomodate.

 

Every one in the office should have ergonomic keyboards and mice, desks at the correct height, screens with anti-glare hardware, chairs with the correct support, adequate training as how to best avoid desk job problems like rsi in the wrist, bad lower back etc. With out these safe guards they are wide open to injury and negligence of the HSE claims.

 

You could try explaining to them that its in their own interest to adhere to these directives and requests. Ask them what they would do if suddenly all their desk staff put in claims for work related injury and would that not cost a lot more than a few measly hundred pounds safe guarding not only their staffs work related health and safety, thus helping meet their own targets/bonus' etc, but also the limiting the opportunity for law suits to be brought against them by employees. Who then would be held responsible by those "above", for losing the company £100k+'s for the sake of a few hundred quid?

 

Stand firm with them, if they don't budge and provide you with everything requested (with in reason, it would have to cost them less than what they may lose because of any future time off, if the equipment wasn't provided) then go directly to the HSE, report them, get them investigated. Its often the only way. The only problem is though that, if they're like whom I work for, HSE will tell them what the have to do get done, the company will start to do it, provide some of it, then it'll just peter out, usually before the most expensive stuff gets bought.

 

Good luck, remember they may try the whole "well there is recession on, times are hard, it would be even harder to find a new job.....". That goes both ways, if things are that hard for them, it would be worse for them to have staff off, disrupting the office/work flow, making claims etc...

 

Take someone in with you that will back up or at least speak the truth if it came to providing witness when you go for this meeting, you are entitled.

 

Good luck

Edited by salviablue

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Thank you salviablue

 

I had a meeting with the Head of HR today. I thought it was going to be a discussion about how I was etc.

 

Turns out the purpose of the meeting was for me to agree to see a Doctor appointed by my employer to see if I am fit to return to work (bearing in mind, I have been back a few months now).

 

The Doctor will also write a occupational health report about my ability to perform my job

 

I had to sign authority for my medical records to be disclosed. I don't have a problem with that as I have been very honest with my employer about the treatment I have received and the operations that I have had.

 

So now I have to wait for this Doctor to write to me with an appointment.

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I have found such doctors are usually very sympethatic. You have a right to see his report - ask for it.


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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Thank you everyone. Today is my first day off for Xmas..

 

Does anyone know about these examinations.. Is it a full medical/physical examination. My employer didn't tell me anything about what to expect or what was going to happen.

 

The HR manager through his gritted teeth just about told me to sign the form.

 

I am sure it is nothing to worry about. Will the fact my employer is paying for it, be reflected in the report ?

 

Merry Christmas Everyone

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Such medicals are usually only about the issue at hand.

 

Report sometimes say who comissioned the examination, however, its not particularly important, becasue this can always be established who comissioned it. Doubt very much employer will not admit to comissioning the medical.

 

Have a good new year.


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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Back to your original points, for the sake of the cost of a headset/mouse/keyboard I think I would simply purchase my own. Apart from the fact it would be for my own benefit, it would hopefully shame the company into action over the chair by showing that you are not trying to play the situation to your advantage.

 

Whilst HSE guidlines may say you are entitled to recieve these things from the employer, in my experience you can obtain better quality "tools" yourself which lead to a better quality worklife.

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Do try for the organisations that help pay for the equipment for people in such circumstances. I cannot recall their name but they aim to help people back to work, so jobcentre should be able to help.

 

A colleague had a chair bought for them (£2500) and they recently moved to another job, and it turns out the chair belongs to the colleague rather than the employer.


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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Thanks for all your input guys.

 

I spoke with one of the HR Managers yesterday and he confirmed my appointment to see their appointed Doctor next week. (following the letter from the surgeon, things are moving really fast)

 

I suggested that I either pay or arrange a grant for the equipment required to help me. He appeared to be taken back by this idea. He said he will have to discuss this with me further next week. He had concerns about the use of equipment that was not supplied by my employer and their liabilities resulting from the use of this equipment.

 

We are only talking a keyboard, mouse, telephone headset and maybe a chair. It didn't and doesn't sound that big a deal to me.

 

Anyway, I will update when I hear more.

 

Happy 2010 !!!!!!

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I will start looking into grants etc. I am getting a little worried that I will eventually be forced out of a job I enjoy.

 

I was off work for most of 2009 due to the pain and subsequent operations. I have been back at work for a few months (with the exception of a couple of sick days, due to continued pain). Only now does my employer want me to see a Doctor that they appoint to see if I am fit to return to work.

 

A little late after being back for a few months.

 

If the Doctor says that I am not fit (I still have pain in my neck, shoulder, forearm and fingers) what happens ?

 

Can I be dismissed for being unfit for work.

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Well, went to see the Doctor they appointed.

 

Total agreement with my surgeon and more. This Doctor has gone a lot further and provided a whole host of recommendations.

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Well done Mrs I. sounds promising.

 

M


________________________________________________________________

ALL unsolicited PMs and E-mails should be posted up - Not all on CAG are who they appear to be

 

 

My views are my own. If in doubt, seek professional advice. If I can help though, I will. CAG helped me!!

 

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Thank you so much.

 

I think my employer is shocked, kind of get the impression they thought I was not being honest

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Well things have now gone from bad to worse.

 

Went to the Doctors yesterday and basically my ulner nerve is pinched in a couple of places (both recognised RSI's). My consultant thinks that the only way I will get better is to have two more operations.

 

After being in pain for so long, I will do anything for it to stop.

 

Sadly my plans were shot to pieces today. I spoke to the HR Manager and he has confirmed that because I had so much time off last year, if I have another operation they will not pay me, whilst I am off recovering from the operation (3 weeks) or if I attend any appointments (including physio) after that.

 

I have two options, receive medical treatment and not get paid or endure the pain and get paid.

 

Not much of a choice, I have bills to pay

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What happened. Surely if a RSI is from employers negligence, can you not sue them? I know you'd rather keep your job but really after the way they behave? Could the amount you win from suing them(provided you could and would win) be enough to tide you over until you find a better job where you are treated as a human?

Any lawyers out there who know how much could be claimed for neck/shoulder/arm RSI symptoms? Is it a set amount or considers how long you are out of work?

anyone?

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Hello again jimmy. This thread is well over a year old and we don't seem to have heard back from the OP.

 

If you have problems to raise on the forum, may I suggest you start a thread for yourself? I don't know if we have any employment lawyers with us at the moment.

 

My best. HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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