An expectant mother who injured her back when she tripped on a loose carpet tile at work has won £9,000 in compensation.
Andrea Swales, 39, was almost five months pregnant when the accident happened at the office where she worked as an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax credit advisor. Fortunately, she fell into a chair and her baby was unharmed. Ms Swales, however, injured her back, but didn’t realise this at the time.
When she began suffering from back pain, Ms Swales attributed this to her pregnancy. It was only when the pain continued after her baby was born that she realised the accident had done more damage than she had at first thought. Her doctor told her she needed physiotherapy and she has also had steroid injections to help alleviate the pain.
Because of her injury, Ms Swales found it difficult to carry out simple tasks like bathing her baby and lifting the baby’s car seat.
After reading about similar cases, Ms Swales decided to bring a claim for compensation against her employer. HMRC admitted they were at fault and agreed to pay her £9,000 in compensation.
Slips and trips are the most common type of workplace injury. Employers should ensure that floors and floor coverings do not pose a risk to staff, and should instigate regular checks to be sure they remain safe. Where women of childbearing age are employed, the duty to assess workplace risks includes those specific to new and expectant mothers, even if the employer is not aware that there are any new or expectant mothers amongst the staff.