Machinery in the workplace can make tasks easier, more accurate and much safer if used correctly. It can help with tasks including food processing, book-binding, lifting, assembly and many others besides. If workplace machinery is properly maintained and staff are trained on how to use it as intended, there usually aren’t many problems. However, if those things don’t happen, accidents can happen. If you are injured while using workplace machinery and the accident was caused by your employer’s negligence, we’ll show you when and how you could be compensated.
It takes one call to our advice line to find out if you might be entitled to compensation. During the call, your chances will be considered and you’ll be given free legal advice. If there appear to be strong enough grounds to continue, we’ll ask one of our personal injury lawyers to get involved. If they agree to take on your case, you’ll benefit from their legal expertise on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means you don’t need to fund your solicitor’s work in advance and you won’t pay them anything if the workplace machinery injury claim doesn’t work out in your favour.
To get in touch and find out more right away, call now on 0800 652 1345. Alternatively, please continue reading.
Your employer’s responsibilities regarding workplace machinery
The main duties your employer has when providing workplace machinery and equipment is to:
- Provide workplace machinery which is suitable for the required task.
- Maintain machinery in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Ensure safety inspections are carried out regularly.
- Conduct risk assessments to try and spot any dangers staff might face while using workplace machinery.
- Provide adequate training to all staff who might use the machinery to explain how to operate it safely.
- Ensure staff are provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while using workplace machinery.
If any of the above have not been followed and you’ve been injured as a result, you could be entitled to compensation for those injuries.
Can I claim compensation for being injured by workplace machinery?
If you are injured by machinery at work and decide to make a personal injury claim against your employer, you’ll need to show that:
- Your employer owed you a duty of care (this is almost always true); and
- Their negligence meant that they breached that duty of care and caused an accident; and
- You suffered an injury during that accident.
If your claim meets all of these criteria, one of our personal injury lawyers could agree to represent you. To find out more, contact our specialists today.
Relevant laws for health & safety at work
Your solicitor is likely to check various pieces of legislation to establish that your employer owed you a duty of care. The main laws that are likely to apply include:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998.
- Employer’s Liability Defective Equipment Act 1969.
You needn’t worry about this too much as your solicitor will check which law is relevant to your case. Instead, you should try to collect evidence to support your claim. This is something we’ll look at shortly.
Types of workplace equipment and machinery
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), PUWER covers some of the following:
- Power presses.
- Drilling machines.
- Lifting equipment.
- Circular saws.
- Motor vehicles.
- Knives and cutting equipment.
Essentially, if you’re injured by any type of machinery or equipment used at your place of work, for work purposes, you could be compensated if you’re injured due to your employer’s negligence.
Types of workplace machinery injury claims
There are a variety of ways compensation claims for injuries involving workplace machinery can occur. Some examples include:
- Unsafe or faulty machinery. An example here might be where a limb is amputated traumatically because a safety guard has been removed from a cutting machine.
- Sharp edges. Over time, machines can sustain damage which results in once smooth edges becoming sharp. If you cut yourself on a sharp edge that hasn’t been repaired, you could claim.
- Falls from height. In this category, you might be eligible to claim if you’ve fallen from height because you were working on a damaged cherry picker or scissor lifted that jolted or collapsed.
- Lack of protection. Workplace machinery claims could also be made if you were forced to use a dangerous machine without proper PPE and were injured as a result.
- Unsuitable equipment. Most pieces of workplace equipment will have been designed to carry out one or two different functions. If you’re injured because you were asked to do something that the machine was not designed for, a claim might be possible.
- Insufficient training. Even if the equipment you’re using is safe and functioning properly, you could still be injured if you haven’t been trained on how to use it properly. If that’s the case, you could be entitled to seek compensation for inadequate training.
- Unsafe working practices. Finally, you may wish to claim if you were injured whilst using a perfectly good piece of workplace machinery in an unsafe manner. For example, if you were asked to work with electrical equipment in a wet area due to flooding.
If you have been injured due to any of the above, contact us on 0800 652 1345 to see if we could help you claim.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Some workplace machinery claims aren’t linked to accidents where injuries are immediately obvious. Instead, they can be caused by using machinery over prolonged periods. You could still be compensated but your claim might not be made until your repetitive strain injuries are diagnosed later on. The types of injuries in this category can include:
- Vibration White Finger (VWF) – VWF is caused by working with vibrating tools (sanders, disc cutters, grinders, hammer drills etc.) over a long period.
- Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) – such as carpal tunnel syndrome caused by carrying out the same task over and over.
- Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) – HAVS is similar to VWF above but includes neurological injuries too.
If you’d like to know more about this type of claim, please call our team today.
How much compensation could I be entitled to?
Compensation for workplace machinery injuries is based on two main heads of loss: general and special damages. They are designed to put you back to where you were before (or as much as possible) before your accident happened. These losses can cover how you’ve been affected physically, psychologically or financially by your injuries. Examples of what you could be included in workplace machinery claims include:
- The pain and suffering caused by your injuries and subsequent treatment.
- Any mental harm (distress, anxiety, PTSD etc.).
- The impact your injuries have had on your domestic or social life.
- Lost income plus any long-term loss of earnings.
- The cost of hiring a carer or the time a loved one spent supporting you.
- Medical expenses (including private healthcare in some cases).
- The cost of modifying your home if it will help you to cope with a new disability.
- Travel expenses linked to your injuries.
Using a personal injury solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims can help to ensure you include everything in your claim. This is an important process as you can only claim once for the same incident. To learn what could be included within your claim, please call today.
Providing proof for a machinery accident claim
To claim compensation for workplace machinery injuries, proof that shows how the accident occurred, who was to blame and what level of injury you sustained is vital. As such, if you can, we’d suggest trying to secure as much of the following as possible:
- Accident report forms. Most companies have to keep an accident report book. You are entitled to a copy of the report about your accident. It could be used as evidence to show when and where your accident happened.
- Photos. Any pictures you take of the accident scene can really help with workplace machinery claims. For example, if you capture the fact that a safety guard was missing at the time you were injured, it would make it hard for your employer to deny that was the case.
- Medical evidence. You should never rely simply on first aid if you’re injured at work. A trip to A&E or a GP surgery will mean your injuries are properly assessed and treated. It will also mean you’ll be able to obtain medical records to help prove the extent of your injuries.
- Witness details. If your employer doesn’t admit liability for your accident, your solicitor could ask any witnesses for a statement of what they saw. This could help to clarify what really happened.
- Camera footage. Where your accident was filmed by CCTV cameras, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the relevant footage. You should do this as soon as possible as it might not be retained for too long.
As well as any medical notes you can provide, most claimants will have to undergo a medical assessment as part of the claims process. Your solicitor will usually try to arrange a meeting with an independent medical expert locally. During your appointment, your injuries will be examined and you’ll discuss how they have affected you. After the meeting has ended, the specialist will list your injuries and prognosis in a report for everybody involved in your claim.
Our free consultation includes a review of any evidence you’ve managed to obtain.
Can I be dismissed for suing my employer?
Many people have concerns about claiming compensation from their current employer. However, this isn’t something you should be too concerned about because there are laws in place to protect you.
If your claim is legitimate, your employer cannot discriminate against you in any way. As a result, you can’t be dismissed, demoted or prevented from training opportunities. If you were to face such action, you may have grounds to seek further damages for unfair or constructive dismissal.
Time limits for workplace machinery accident claims
Usually, workplace accident claims have a 3-year time limit. In most cases, this will start from the date you were injured. If your injuries were not diagnosed until later on (as might be the case with RSI injuries), your time limit will start from the ‘date of knowledge’.
If your employer admits liability for both your accident and your injuries, you could be compensated in around 6-months. However, where the extent of your injuries is not fully understood or negotiation regarding liability is needed, the claim could take longer.
Our advice is to get the process started as soon as you can. By doing so, you’ll probably find it easier to recall what happened and your solicitor will have ample time to collect supporting evidence.
No Win, No Fee claims
Nobody wants to risk money when making a compensation claim. For that reason, our solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for all workplace machinery injury claims they accept.
If you are taken on as a client, your solicitor will forward you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This explains that they’ll begin work without any upfront payment for their work but they’ll deduct a success fee from any compensation you’re awarded.
The success fee is legally capped at 25% of any settlement you receive and it is used to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work and expenses. Importantly, if the claim fails, you do not need to pay the success fee.
Start a workplace machinery injury claim today
We hope this article has helped. Our team is ready to help if you’d like to begin a claim or ask any questions. To get in touch you can use live chat or give us a call on 0800 652 1345. No matter what you decide to do, we’ll review your case for free and provide completely free legal advice about your options.
Thanks for visiting today and reading our article on workplace machinery injury claims.