Soldiers and other military personnel are in a potentially dangerous occupation. Often these individuals put their lives on the line, fighting to keep ordinary civilians safe. Considering that those in the armed forces regularly place themselves in harm's way, the idea of health and safety might seem slightly redundant.
However, similar to all employers, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) should take appropriate steps in order to prevent its staff members from suffering personal injury within the workplace. For example, as military personnel may need to know specialist skills, such as how to handle firearms, explosives, and the controls of advanced vehicles, officers should ensure that soldiers are prepared and adequately trained before letting them enter a combat scenario.
These exercises should be carried out appropriately in order to prevent individuals from experiencing harm. Sadly, the results of a study, published in the British Medical Journal during 2011, suggest that the army may be failing to do this.
After examining 660 British Army infantry personnel, the researchers revealed that more than 58% of the soldiers had suffered at least one type of personal injury during training. Although it is not clear how these accidents occurred, it appears that common causes may involve sports, physical exertion, as well as military exercises or work.
These incidents could also have serious consequences, with 83% of the injuries being described as "traumatic".
Although most employers in the UK reasonably prevent their staff members from suffering personal injury at work, the MOD is exempt from certain areas of British health and safety law. For example, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), this legislation will not apply to military facilities on foreign soil.
Moreover, as the MOD is a crown body, the organisation is exempt from enforcement action – meaning that the HSE cannot usually take them to court following a serious health and safety breach.
Consequently, if a member of the armed forces feels that not enough is being done to prevent accidents on military bases, the HSE states they should contact their local safety advisor or speak to a superior officer. In many cases, the MOD should be able to handle the matter internally.
However, if an individual suffers personal injury on a military base or during a training exercise, and the incident was not their fault, he or she may be able to receive damages through an army compensation claim.
Claiming for a training accident with Seth Lovis & Co.
If you were harmed during a training exercise, and it was caused by the negligence of another individual, you should seek legal advice from one of our specialist solicitors. Seth Lovis & Co has helped many sufferers receive compensation for accidents on a military base and have a wealth of experience in this subject area.
To find out if you are entitled to claim damages for your military accident, please call us on 0370 218 4025 or complete an online enquiry form today.