The British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported teaching to be the second most stressful occupation in the UK, with 41 per cent of teachers reporting very high or extremely high levels of stress at work. The combination of managing student behaviour, marking work and planning lessons cause enough pressure, both in and out of the classroom, without the additional worry of personal injury.

A recent Sky News report brought to light the prevalence of personal injury claims within the profession; reporting the millions received by teachers in injury pay-outs and detailing the range of incidents.

According to Sky News, the personal injury compensation claims reported ranged from slips and trips to more worrying incidents of teachers being attacked by pupils. Shocking cases included an instance where a pupil slammed his teachers arm in a filing cabinet, resulting in the damages of £382,930 being awarded.

Laura Williams, Asons Solicitors Executive, commented on the matter: “Reading these cases I feel lucky to consider myself safe in my day to day work. At no point during my day do I feel threatened or consider my employer negligent in providing a safe working environment. While Teaching is understood to be a stressful profession, the worry of personal injury shouldn’t contribute to this.”

The slips and trips commented on in the Sky News article were due to poor building maintenance, which, with the correct upkeep were entirely avoidable. One teacher was awarded personal injury compensation worth £13,500 after tripping on loose carpet and fracturing her elbow; while another teacher who slipped on an ‘unusually shiny’ classroom floor was awarded £9,000.

Employers have a ‘duty of care’ to ensure they provide a safe working environment for their staff; making sure frequent health and safety assessments are carried out, ensuring they comply with regulations. While this is more complicated in the instance of violence from pupils, there is no excuse for neglecting the maintenance of a school.

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