Crumbling Parliament building blamed for spate of staff injury compensation claims

Posted Aug 09, 2018.
A recent government dossier, published as a result of a freedom of information request by the PoliticsHome website, has revealed an amazing number and range of injuries suffered by Westminster staff and visitors, many of which have seen the injured person receiving compensation for their injuries.

The claims data, covering the period from 2015 to 2017, coincides with the annual summer maintenance and a long-term series of renovation and modernisation projects that have recently started on the Palace of Westminster. One of the world’s busiest parliamentary institutions, Parliament  has not had significant updating of its buildings and infrastructure since World War 2.
The types of injury claims recorded included:

£12,200 awarded to a cleaner who slipped over on a kitchen floor that was ‘contaminated’ and suffered back and arm injuries

£13,300 awarded to a motorcyclist who fell from his bike on a ‘dusty’ Parliamentary car park

£20,000 awarded to a visitor at a House of Lords restaurant after a waiter slipped and split hot water over them

£18,200 awarded to a cleaner after a ceiling tile came lose and hit them on the head

Other claims made by staff and visitors included injuries on the London Underground whist carrying work equipment; electric shock injuries caused when trying to charge a mobile phone; head injuries caused when part of a walk-in fridge collapsed and a number of incidents of staff getting arms caught in lift doors. Slips and trips caused by uneven surfaces, wet or freshly polished floors and trailing cables were also recorded. One claim also involved a man who broke his leg whilst playing table tennis.

Parliament is a ‘self-insuring’ institution, meaning that any claims for compensation are paid for by the taxpayer funded budget, as opposed to a separate insurance company.

A spokesperson for the House of Commons said:

"We are committed to protecting the health and safety of those that work on or visit the Parliamentary estate…we have in place robust arrangements, including a network of fully trained first aiders, to help prevent accidents and work to reduce harm wherever possible…the number of accidents reported are in line with comparable organisations, and the type and number of accidents are not due to any inherent defects or work practices within the buildings."