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Staff Accidents


Lucy P
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Recently, one of my employees was returning the television to the store room (14” portable) and as she put it in the floor, she placed it on her little finger. I checked her finger and although it was slightly red there was no indication swelling or bruising and she was able to move it. I advised her to apply an ice pack and ensured the accident book was completed.

She claimed she thought it was broken and needed to go to hospital for an x ray. :o

I asked her to remain at the nursery for 15 mins to allow cover to be arranged and then said she was free to attend hospital if she felt she needed to. I said I would appreciate her returning to work if there wasn’t anything wrong or to phone with any other info.

 

She phoned about two hours later to say it wasn’t broken and would not be returning to work until the following day (she did not speak to one of the management team).

 

This I thought was the end of the matter until today……

 

When she received this months pay slip she found I hadn’t paid her for the hours she didn’t work. (Our policy is up to 2 hours paid for medical appointments)

 

If she had returned to work she would have been paid for the day, also if she had sustained an injury we would have looked at the situation differently, but I just felt it was an excuse for a day off.

 

She now says that it is against the law to expect employees to lift heavy equipment and she has handed her notice in and intends to take the matter further. xD

 

Could you please give me your opinions on the following:

 

Should I expect my employees to lift a portable television or any other equipment come to that?

 

Should I have paid her for 8 hours work when she only did 1.5?

 

How serious should an accident be before it is entered in the accident book?

(In the last two months we have had three stubbed toes, one walking in to a door frame and another catching her nail on the carpet!)

 

Sorry for the long post :D

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Under the manual handling act you have to try and avoid the need for any manual handling which may involve the risk of injury. Where this is unavoidable you need to carry out risk assessments to minimise the risk. You might identitfy risks from accident books (if several people have sustained an injury from transporting the portable tv then you would be required to look into this!) and then try to find ways to minimise the risk. So the question is, is the tv really that heavy and have other people had problems? :D If you now think it is a problem what are you going to do about it? Other than that I don't see she has a leg to stand on (or a finger to squash!) :o

 

As regards to paying her for a full day - no way! You made it very clear that she should return if the injury wasn't serious and she didn't.

 

When should we enter something into the accident book? Certainly when something requires some sort of treatment but surely we just have to use our commonsense here. If people stub their toes they need to be looking where they are going. xD

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Agree with carol, if accident needs treatment we enter it in the book, if at any time hospital or medical treatment has been sought or if it had been caused by a child (biting or hitting etc)we always enter it.

 

Payment for not working...we would have done the same as you. I would have expected her to return to work or come in to explain the reason why she could not return or certainly to speak to the person in charge on the day.

 

As she had called in sick/unable to work we would follow the rules set by national insurance anyway....no payment for first 3 days anyway and then just the amount stipulated by them if the income they recieve made them eligable, (allowing us to claim back some of the wage) and we would expect a self certification form to be filled in for the records. Complicated yes but it works.

 

 

If she is intending to take this further as threatened have you informed Ofsted or your insurance of the possible problem. Your insurance may be able to offer advice in this matter (assuming you have legal protection cover) and I aways feel it better to tell ofsted just in case she makes a complaint about it. we have always found them helpful and understanding in this area. Often it does not get that far but it makes them aware that you take it seriously and not just dismissing it out of hand.

 

Inge

Edited by Inge
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Oooh - a really difficult one - and one that I will keep an eye on for everyone's answers as it is one that can and probably does happen all the tiime iin pre schools that have to set up and move stuff every day.

 

I certainly would be quite aggrieved if I had hurt myself and thought I needed medical attention, had gone to the hospital for an x-ray, spent two hours there (is there proof?) and then had to return to work for the remainder of the day. However, I am also the sort of person who would say "it's my own bl...y fault for putting my fiinger under the the tv! and ask for alternative duties - sitting in the kitchen eating cream cakes for instance!! No, I joke..........

 

But accidents happen.. has she received manual handling training - whether or not WE agree whether a portable tv is acceptable to lift - the fact is - she did apparently hurt herself, as you recognised by the mark and as you said, quite rightly, she should go to hospital if she thought she needed to. I think most of us here would agree it's part and parcel of working with children in settings where we have to move things..... but unfortunately and quite rightly so the law is there to protect. I think she has other issues and may see this as a way forward to resolving them which could make it quite dangerous territory if she does take it further. The law has funny ways of working. She may not do anything at all but you must have covered all areas in case she does. Have all you staff received manual handling training, have they signed off on it - do they understand the implications etc. Have they been told? etc etc etc.

 

I actually agree with what everyone has said but that is the sort of person I am - but people are different and we must be aware of this when dealing with issues of this sort.

 

I wait to see what everyone else has to say as I would be most interested

 

Nikki

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Hi Lucy, I also think there are other underlying issues that could "explode" this situation all out of proportion.

 

Every business has to have the Health & Safety poster displayed. This details who is responsible for health & safety and it also states that "employees" are responsible for carrying out their work in a safe manner, following health & safety policies.

 

The question here is "was it unsafe to carry the T.V. ( in my opinion "No" and who was negligent ( in my opinion "the staff member)? I think she should pay for any damage to the TV :(:(

 

All my staff move furniture / equipment everyday, our safety policy states that if they are unable to lift/ carry an object to "ask for help", and therefore not put themselves at risk of injury. This is their responsibility under the Health & Safety Poster, which details legal requirement.

 

I have just gone to my bedrrom and placed my 14" TV on my finger, it is not that heavy :o . Adult staff have a responsibility not to be careless.( she must have "dropped" the TV, and not "placed" it on her finger)

 

This doesn't really help but just thought I would share my thoughts. I agree you need to contact Ofsted and get some legal advice.

 

As a member of PLA we have a "Safe lifting" poster, which is displayed in our storage areas, but even on this it doesn't cover "dropping" items on body parts, just how to "lift" items properly and the responsibility of each person to "ask for help" when required. I think you are only negligent if assistance ( when asked for) is not made available to her.

 

Good luck.

 

p.s. Just a thought, Did she drive to the hospital? xD

 

Peggy

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Hi Lucy, I also think there are other underlying issues that could "explode" this situation all out of proportion.

 

Every business has to have the Health & Safety poster displayed. This details who is responsible for health & safety and it also states that "employees" are responsible for carrying out their work in a safe manner, following health & safety policies.

 

The question here is "was it unsafe to carry the T.V. ( in my opinion "No" and who was negligent ( in my opinion "the staff member)? I think she should pay for any damage to the TV :(:(

 

All my staff move furniture / equipment everyday, our safety policy states that if they are unable to lift/ carry an object to "ask for help", and therefore not put themselves at risk of injury. This is their responsibility under the Health & Safety Poster, which details legal requirement.

 

I have just gone to my bedrrom and placed my 14" TV on my finger, it is not that heavy :o . Adult staff have a responsibility not to be careless.( she must have "dropped" the TV, and not "placed" it on her finger)

 

This doesn't really help but just thought I would share my thoughts. I agree you need to contact Ofsted and get some legal advice.

 

As a member of PLA we have a "Safe lifting" poster, which is displayed in our storage areas, but even on this it doesn't cover "dropping" items on body parts, just how to "lift" items properly and the responsibility of each person to "ask for help" when required. I think you are only negligent if assistance ( when asked for) is not made available to her.

 

Good luck.

 

p.s. Just a thought, Did she drive to the hospital? xD

 

Peggy

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Hi everyone, thanks for all your responses.

 

I definatly agree that informing Ofsted is the way to go, hopefully it will be a pointless waste of time but at least i will get in first.

 

I just get so annoyed with staff coming to me and saying things like... 'i need to go home as i have just shut my toe in the door' xD:(

if i had done that i'm sure i would be too embarrased to tell anyone, i would feel such an idiot!!

 

The staff are all trained in manual handling and we do have the H&S poster displayed in four areas of the nursery, also PLA safe lifting posters in each room.

 

I know deep down that i have followed all procedures correctly with regard to manual handling training during the induction period with refreshers every six months, but i am always so worried that a silly little thing like this may cost me my business.

 

Peggy, no she didn't drive to hospital but did manage to tie 23 childrens aprons ready for their cooking activity before she left!! :o

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There you go, sorted, you have everything covered, your business will benefit not suffer because an apparently totally uncommited member of staff has left. :D

 

peggy

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Agree with all said so far. If it had been me I would have gone to hospital after work...

 

Anyway just another suggestion - we can have free legal advice from Lawcall through the PLA. I don't know if that is an area thing or national though? They have been really helpful with us recently over a letting agreement. I would have thought if it was an area arrangement your area would have a similar one HTH

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Hi all!

 

Just found this after an enforced absence xD , not relevant but it reminded me of an incident some time ago when I was supervising a pre-school playgroup (using communal hall belonging to local scout group). A staff member fainted at a friends house, breaking her ankle. She had a long period off work, for which she would not be paid, so she asked us to say she had fallen at work so she could claim from the owners of the hall!!!!! :(:o

 

Just a comment, as I say, BTW - I don't think you did anything wrong at all

 

Sue :D

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