Accidents at work using machinery can be life changing – and if you suffer one that could’ve been avoided, you may be due compensation.
Broadly speaking, there are two reasons why people using machinery at work suffer accidents:
Problems with the machinery
Problems with how the machinery is used
Reason one likely places the fault at the feet of the employer, with the safety and upkeep of machinery typically their responsibility.
Reason two is more complex and could be related to training, equipment, supervision or other issues.
This could also be an employer issue though, as the provision of any appropriate training and preparation is their responsibility.
Faulty machinery and equipment
Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, maintenance of machinery used by any employee is the responsibility of the employer.
This doesn’t just apply to factory or heavy industry environments – it can even cover machinery hired by businesses for employee use.
Employers must ensure the appropriate upkeep and/or regular inspection of machinery used by their staff is carried out.
And even if it is functioning as required, when the wrong machinery is used for a particular task and results in an accident, this is also a potential problem.
Especially without the right risk assessments, documented health & safety policies and other measures in place, employers could be found liable.
Safety equipment and clothing
The recommended protective gear should always be provided and worn – in the appropriate size and specification to suit both machinery and operator.
This may include anything from goggles, gloves and steel toe-cap boots to hardhats and flame retardant clothing.
Incorrect or inadequate training
Even if a piece of workplace machinery is operationally safe, it can still be a potential hazard in the hands of the wrong operator.
A lack of required training, knowledge or experience could result in serious problems for both employer and – more importantly – machinery user.
What should you do?
Solicitor Suzanne Mason details what you should try to do if you’ve suffered a workplace machinery accident or injury:
‘Obviously, for anyone hurt at work, the priority should always be their health and wellbeing.
‘But, if possible, it can help a future claim to take certain steps – such as requesting a copy of the company accident book, with the incident recorded.
‘Also, take photos of any faulty or damaged machinery or equipment and try to note the accounts of any witnesses.
‘These could be people who saw the accident or even anyone who could provide confirmation that the machinery involved was defective.
‘A claim success depends on proving that an injury was the fault of the employer and could’ve been prevented – so supporting evidence is always valuable.’
To talk about your options around an accident or injury involving workplace machinery or equipment, speak to a member of our experienced personal injury team.