Machines of all types are commonly used in various workplaces, from food processing plants and garages to furniture and steel turning workshops. All of this machinery will have been put through stringent quality control before it is considered safe for use and given the stamp of approval. However, despite all of the rigorous safety measures that are put in place, accidents still continue to take place in workplace settings where machinery is used.
In most cases, the problem lies not in the machines themselves but in the way that they are used. The majority of machine related injuries are caused because the equipment is not well maintained, not properly guarded or not used correctly.
When we hear the term ‘dangerous machinery’ what immediately comes to mind are images such as the one on this page and similar images of powerful, heavyweight, difficult-to-use machines. However, the fact is, any machine, even the smallest, can pose a certain amount of risk if it is not maintained, used or guarded properly.
Common Causes Of Machine Related Injuries
Some of the most common causes for accidents involving dangerous machinery include:
- Inadequate Training – In order to get things moving along quickly, very often workers are asked to operate machinery with little or no training. This can pose a real danger as mishandling a machine or using it incorrectly could result in serious injuries.
- Operating Machinery Without Any Protective Gear – Every machine comes with its own unique set of risks and potential for injuries of different types. One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of injury while using any machinery is by wearing the recommended protective gear for that particular equipment. This could include a combination of one or more of the following – safety goggles, a hard hat, well-fitting gloves, heavy-duty boots and flame-retardant clothing.
- Faulty Machinery – Machinery that is not maintained can be as dangerous as machinery that is being operated without the proper safety guards or the wrong machinery being used to do the job. All of these scenarios come under the purview of ‘faulty machinery’ and all are equally likely to result in injuries.
Irrespective of which of the above factors was directly or indirectly responsible, if you sustain a dangerous machinery injury in the workplace, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation against your employer.
Employer Responsibility With Regards To Operating Machinery In The Workplace
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, in the workplace, the onus is on the employer to ensure that all safeguards are in place and that all machines are used properly and safely. This includes:
- Carrying out risk assessments in relation to the machinery and its associated work processes
- Maintaining all machinery regularly
- Giving top priority to necessary repairs
- Ensuring that all staff who will be handling any machine have received the necessary training
- Ensuring that all employees are provided with the relevant protective gear and that the full gear is always worn when operating any machine.
Making a Workplace Machinery Injury Compensation Claim
As with all personal injury claims, the most important thing about filing a claim for compensation is that you need to be able to prove that the dangerous machinery injury was caused as a result of negligence of a third party. In this case the third party would be your employer, and that itself could cause some hesitation on your part. Nobody wants to file a case against their employer for fear that they may lose their means of livelihood. In such cases it helps to know that the law protects those who step forward to claim compensation in case of an unwarranted injury. If your employer has been negligent in their duty to provide a safe working environment for you and you have suffered an injury as a result, compensation is the legal way to get them to make amends.
The best way to go about filing a dangerous workplace machinery injury claim is through an experienced personal injury solicitor. An experienced solicitor will know exactly how to proceed so as to safeguard your interests keeping in mind the delicate employer-employee relationship. It can take time however to gather all of the facts and build a compelling case for compensation. Considering there are statutory time limitations in place for filing dangerous machinery injury claims, the earlier you consult with a solicitor, the better your chances of filing a successful claim and getting the compensation you deserve.