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Accident at work jargon buster

Thousands of accidents at work occur every year in the UK and some result in minor personal injuries, some in major personal injuries and some are fatal accidents.  But those involved in work accidents, or the relatives of those involved, are often keen to make claims for the compensation which is rightfully theirs.

With the aim of making the accident at work compensation claim process as hassle-free as possible we make a promise that the claims process will be completely cost-free, no matter what the outcome of your claim.  We have also provided a guide to some of the jargon that is used throughout these pages when discussing accidents at work and workplace injuries:

Accident at work compensation claim - a claim for compensation, made by someone who sustained a personal injury in an accident at work, against the party responsible for the said accident, such as an employer. Read more about making a claim against your employer.

Asbestos – a natural fibrous substance that has been used as an insulation material for many years.  White, blue and brown asbestos are all potentially dangerous when inhaled and may trigger asbestos-related diseases. 

Asbestosis – scarring to the lung tissue caused by inhalation of poisonous asbestos fibres.  Symptoms include coughing, a tight chest, chest pains and shortness of breath.

Asbestos-related diseases – conditions associated with the inhalation of asbestos dust, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, lung cancer and emphysema. Read more about industrial illnesses.

Asthma – a respiratory complaint in which tightening of the air passages can cause a tight chest, wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Back pain – pain below the cervical spine is one of the most common personal injury complaints in the UK.  Back injuries include lumbar disc disorders, degenerative disc disease and osteoporosis.  Many personal injuries that cause back pain are a result of accidents at work

BSC – (British Safety Council) a leading independent health and safety training and advisory organisation with the aim of promoting health, safety and environmental best practice for the benefit of society and the increase of productivity. Read an overview of the BSC

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome – this condition, caused by compression of the median nerve as it enters the hand through the narrow carpal tunnel in the wrist, can be very painful.  It can be caused by overuse and is a common workplace injury. Read more about Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

Chemicals – these are substances that may create health problems or serious personal injury if human exposure is experienced during a work accident. 

Compensation – this is the monetary award that you will be given if your accident at work claim is successful.  You can receive compensation for both special and general damages (see damages). 

Computer related injuries – these workplace injuries are becoming more common as we rely more heavily on the use of computers.  Computer-related injuries include: Repetitive Strain Injury, back and neck injuries, and vision problems. Read more about computer-related injuries.

Construction accident – accidents that occur within the construction industry may include scaffolding accidents and other falls from height as well as accidents involving cement mixers but most actually occur when just walking across site.

COSHH – (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations) the aim of these is to reduce occupational ill health and injuries at work by setting out a simple framework for controlling hazardous substances, such as chemicals, in the workplace.  For more details visit

Damages – there are two types of damages associated with accident at work claims: general and special.  General damages include pain and suffering, loss of congenial employment and other lifestyle changes.  Special damages include loss of earnings cost of medical treatments and travel to and from medical appointments. Read more about compensation types for accidents at work.

Employer – the company, organisation, contractor or individual that enlists your paid help to carry out a particular task.  They are obliged to follow particular health and safety regulations and are ultimately responsible for your health, safety and welfare in the workplace.  If you sustain a personal injury in a workplace accident as a result of their failure to comply to such regulations, you are likely to be entitled to make a compensation claim. 

Employee – the person employed to do a particular job for an individual, contractor or company.  They are also responsible for their own health and safety and the health and safety of others when in the workplace. 

Equipment at work – any special equipment used to carry out work tasks such as tools, machinery, safety goggles and gloves should always be in good working condition in order for accidents at work to be avoided. 

Ergonomics – the ergonomics of your workstation are very important to avoid the risk of work place injuries.  In particular, the position of the desk and chair of those that work in jobs where they are seated for most of the day must be ergonomically designed to reduce the risk of neck pain, back injuries and RSI. 

Falls from height – these are a major cause of work accident fatalities and 3,800 people in the UK sustained serious personal injures as a result from falls from height during 2004/05Most falls from height happen at below head height. Read more about falling from height and accidents at work.

Free legal advice – our panel of personal injury solicitors will answer any queries that you may have regarding the claims process and will advise you at all stages of your accident at work compensation claim case, free of charge. 

HAVS – (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) too much exposure to vibration caused by hand-held tools and machinery can cause damage to the nerves, blood vessels, muscles and joints in the hands, wrists and arms. 

Hazardous loads – being involved in an accident at work while transporting a hazardous load is potentially fatal and could cause serious personal injuries.  Hazardous goods are classified according to their predominant hazard.  For example, explosive substances and articles are classed as 1. Read more about having an accident at work while carrying dangerous goods.

HSC – (Health and Safety Commission) they aim to protect everyone in the United Kingdom against risks to health and safety in the workplace; promote training for and provide information and advice to employees and employers and submit proposals for new or revised regulations and approved codes of practice.  For more details please visit

HSE – (Health and Safety Executive) work in support of the HSC to protect people’s health and safety by controlling risk of injuries and accidents at work.& Read more about the HSE.

Health, Safety and Welfare – the Workplace Regulations (1992) cover a wide range of health, safety and welfare issues that apply to most workplaces with a view to preventing workplace injuries as a result of work accidents. 

Industrial deafness – hearing loss due to exposure to high levels of noise in the workplace, also known as noise-induced hearing loss.  According to the Noise at Work Regulations 2005, employers have an obligation to ensure that workers’ hearing is not damaged by noisy work conditions.  Read more at

Industrial illness – there are a number of industrial illnesses, diseases and disorders that workers may develop including: asbestos-related diseases, dermatitis, Vibration White Finger and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Read more about industrial illness and associated disorders.

Lifting accidents – 120,346 personal injuries were caused to employees during 2004/05, causing them to be off work for more than three days.  Two fifths of these were a result of handling, lifting and carrying accidents. 

Mesothelioma – a rare, fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.  Mesothelioma can occur in the pleura, causing shortness of breath and chest pain or in the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal wall), causing intestinal obstruction. 

MHOR – (Manual Handling Operations Regulations) a set of government regulations that apply to pushing and pulling loads as well as lifting and carrying loads. Read more about pushing and pulling accidents.

Musculoskeletal disorder – these include personal injuries to the upper limbs and back.  More than one million people suffered from musculoskeletal disorders that they thought were work-related injuries during 2004/05.  They are otherwise known as ergonomic injuries.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss – see industrial deafness.

No win no fee a no win no fee agreement is used by personal injury solicitors when dealing with compensation claims.  Our no win, no fee service is risk free.

Occupational Overuse disorders – another term used to describe conditions such as RSI. 

Personal injury – any physical or psychological injury that you may have sustainedIf you sustained an injury at work that was not your fault you may be entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation.

Personal injury solicitor – The Claim Solicitors are associated with a panel of legal experts with an excellent claims success rate.  They specialise in a variety of personal injury compensation claim cases pertaining from accidents at work to car accidents.  

Pleural plaques – asbestos fibres inhaled into the lungs can make their way out to the pleura (a membrane which lines the inside of the ribcage).  This can cause scarring and a localised thickening which is chronic. 

Pushing and pulling accidents – according to the HSE, 11% of manual handling accidents investigated involved situations in which workers were either pushing or pulling. The accidents are usually a result of poor posture and repetitive motions and back injuries are most commonly sustained. Read about how pulling and pulling accidents contribute towards accidents at work

Raynaud’s phenomenon – this is a condition that can cause discolouration of the fingers, toes, ears or nose as a result of exposure to extreme changes in temperature that can cause an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels and reduce blood supply to these areas. Smokers and women are those most likely to contract the disease.  Vibration White Finger is a form of Raynaud’s (see VWF). 

Repetitive Strain Injury – muscular, tendon and nerve damage to the hands, fingers, wrists, arms, shoulders and neck can occur as a result of performing prolonged, repetitive movements.  The TUC have reported that around 1 in 50 UK workers suffer from RSI.  Those most affected by this workplace injury include computer operatives, factory workers and musicians. 

RHS – (Revitalising Health and Safety) a 10-year plan designed to improve health and safety in the workplace and reduce accidents at work was launched by the government in collaboration with the HSC in 2000.

RIDDOR – (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) all employers and those self-employed or in control of premises must report certain accidents at work under RIDDOR so that enforcing bodies can identify risks in the workplace, preventative action can be taken and accidents at work rates reduced. Read more about RIDDOR.

Risk assessment – a careful examination of what could cause accidents and injuries at work, bringing these potential causes to light and suggesting measures that can be taken to reduce such risks.  This is an important step that employers can take to comply with the law and protect their workers, business and the risk of having an accident at work claim made against them.

Stress – a major health risk among UK employees, leading to an estimated incidence of 7,500 mental ill health work-related illnesses reported by specialist doctors during 2002-04.  It is important that employers take preventative measures, such as sharing heavy workloads between several employees, in order to prevent such injuries at work occurring.

Temperature – the temperature at which we work can affect our wellbeing and productivity.  There is currently a legal minimum working temperature but no maximum working temperature and the TUC have been calling for the introduction of a maximum working temperature as working in heated environments can be very uncomfortable and bad for our health. 

Tinnitus – a buzzing, ringing or roaring sound in the ears, usually as a result of compressed blood vessels, can be caused by loud noises in the working environment.  This type of industrial deafness can occur suddenly or over a period of time and be either temporary or permanent.  Tinnitus can be a pre-cursor to permanent noise-induced hearing loss. 

TUC – (Trades Union Congress) represents over half million workers from all professions.  One of their main aims is to run an extensive training and education programme for union reps so that they can effectively campaign to improve health and safety at work in order to reduce the risk of work accidentsRead more about the TUC.

VWF – (Vibration White Finger) a secondary form of Raynaud’s phenomenon in which the blood vessels of the hands tighten, causing blood flow to be restricted and the fingers to turn blue.  This can be caused by the repetitive and prolonged use of vibrating tools and machinery and is a common work place injury among those that use pneumatic drills and chainsaws. Read more industrial illnesses and associated disorders.

How to make a claim following an accident at work
If you have sustained a personal injury as a result of a work accident and you would like to claim compensation, then we are here to help.

The Claim Solicitors are the accident at work claim experts which is demonstrated by our fantastic success rate.

We work on a no win no fee basis and can help you to claim for pain and suffering, lost earnings past and present as well as medical expenses.  We may even be able to arrange for you to receive top medical treatment in your area. 

To find out more or make a no win no fee accident at work claim today, just call 0800 197 32 32.