Around 54,000 UK manufacturing workers sustain an injury at work per year – constituting two per cent of the manufacturing workforce, significantly higher than the 1.7 per cent all-industry rate – according to the most recent Health & Safety Executive statistics.
Factories can be inherently dangerous places to work, but this does not excuse your employers from their legal duty to do everything reasonable to keep you safe. If they fail in this duty, you may be eligible for compensation, as Roger Henderson, a specialist personal injury solicitor at Rundlewalker in Exeter explains.
Common causes of factory injuries.
The type of injury you may suffer will vary depending on the product your company makes: chemical burns or respiratory problems could be a common hazard if you work with chemicals, for example, while most factories have heavy machinery which limbs can get caught in, heavy vehicles which can crash causing injury, not to mention the ever-present slip, trip or fall hazards or the dangers of heavy lifting which will feature in most factories.
According to HSE figures, the most common types of injury in a manufacturing setting are caused by:
• handling, lifting or carrying;
• slips, trips or falls on the same level;
• being struck by moving objects or vehicles;
• falls from height;
• hitting something fixed or stationary;
• contact with moving machinery.
Such accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, from something relatively minor like cuts, bruises, muscle strains or sprains, to ones which are much more serious including fractures, amputations, spinal or brain injuries or even death.
What duties do employers have to protect their workers?
Whether you work full-time, part-time or on a self-employed or agency basis, under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and the raft of associated regulations, your employer is legally obliged to take steps to safeguard your health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.
This legal duty requires them to: carry out regular risk assessments of your workplace and implement measures to minimise any risk found; regularly check that machinery is fault-free and safe to use; provide personal protective clothing and equipment – such as goggles, masks or hard hats - where necessary; provide you with adequate training and supervision; and ensure you get regular breaks and that the work environment is kept clean.
If your employer fails in this legal duty, they may be found to be negligent and you would have a valid claim for compensation. For most workplace accident cases, negligence would be found if the employer responsible had failed to act how a ‘reasonable man’ would act in a similar situation.
What evidence do I need to bring a claim?
To help your specialist personal injury lawyer strengthen your compensation claim, you should gather evidence from the accident scene and afterwards. This includes:
• your entry in the workplace accident book;
• photographs of the accident scene and your injuries;
• names and contact details of any potential eyewitnesses;
• any CCTV footage of the event (which your employer has a legal duty to provide);
• details of any medical treatment you received after the accident;
• a written account of the incident and how your injuries have affected you;
• details of any expenses which you have had to pay out because of your injury.
How can a solicitor help?
Our specialist personal injury lawyers will help you gather and organise the evidence you need to prove your case, refer you to a medical expert to assess your injuries and the effect they have had on your life, and strive to win you the financial settlement you deserve.
Under the Limitation Act 1980, you usually have three years to bring a claim from the time the accident or from the time you realise the full impact of your injuries (whichever comes later), but it is a good idea to consult a solicitor as soon as possible after the accident while details are still fresh in the minds of everyone involved.
How much compensation will I receive?
The compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your injuries and your long-term prognosis, but could include damages for:
• pain and suffering (mental or physical);
• loss of earnings;
• medical expenses;
• loss of potential earnings;
• out of pocket expenses;
• adaptations required to your home.
Your consultation and representation.
Contact us now to discuss your legal situation and we can advise you of the options available to you.
For more information, call Roger Henderson on 01392 209218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.