This week, around 30,000 people across the UK will become injured or ill because of negligence, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by APIL.
The fact that they were injured by ‘negligence’ is significant.
An accident is simply an incident which no-one could have reasonably foreseen and for which no-one should be held responsible. These happen every day and are an unfortunate fact of life. Kids fall off climbing frames, fingers get trapped in doors, and many of us have had an episode when chopping vegetables for the dinner.
But then there are events where we put our own safety in the hands of others. You can be the safest and most diligent driver in the world, but to be totally protected from harm everyone else behind a wheel needs to be too. Employers have a duty to make sure we return home from a day’s work unscathed. And when you receive medical treatment, you should not expect your health to be worse than when the treatment started.
Now, I am not explaining this to provoke fear. To live entirely risk-free would be not to live at all. But as individuals we should be aware that needless injuries, which could and should be avoided, can happen to any one of us. This Injury Awareness Week we ask that everyone considers the impact of injuries on the people suffering them, and how unjust it would be if those injuries were caused because of someone else’s negligence. In an ideal world, this mindset should be embraced by all - from you, to your colleagues, to your boss, to your community, to your fellow motorists, and to our representatives in parliament.
An injury can have a financial and emotional impact, as well as the physical impact. Sometimes the impact is small and the injuries will heal, and some injuries are life changing. Some are life ending. Some injuries are psychological and cannot be seen by others. Some injuries are from accidents and could not have been avoided. But 30,000 of them this Injury Awareness Week need not happen.