If a dangerous machinery injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a dangerous machinery work accident, we can help. If your injuries were caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a work accident compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that 9% of fatal accidents in 2022/23 involved contact with moving machinery.
Machinery at work is often inherently dangerous. Even equipment that is relatively safe to use can become dangerous if it is poorly maintained or mishandled. Regardless of the nature or state of the machinery used by staff, employers owe their workers a duty of care to maintain a safe work environment at all times.
Machine-related injuries are often severe and can have a significant impact on a person's life. These injuries can also permanently affect an individual's ability to work.
Your solicitor will work hard to recover the compensation you need after a work accident to fund essential treatment, living costs and future care and rehabilitation.
If you decide to make a dangerous machinery injury claim, your work accident solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Typical dangerous machinery injuries
Missing or defective safety guards
Specific rules cover the safe guarding of dangerous machinery. Dangerous machinery will have been subjected to rigorous safety checks before it is considered safe for use.
Despite this, defective and unguarded machines cause accidents at work every day. In many cases, the accident is not caused by any defect in the machine itself but in the way it is maintained, used and guarded.
Where possible, employers must:
- provide fixed guards to dangerous components, e.g. rotating blades and sharp edges
- guard against the risk of injuries caused by debris thrown from the machinery
- ensure machinery is stopped before workers can access designated danger zones
- prioritise repairs, maintenance, risk assessment and training
Lathes are used in many workplaces and can be very dangerous if used by someone with inadequate training or not serviced frequently. The risk of accidents at work involving lathes is specifically recognised in legislation, lathes being a clear potential hazard to employees.
Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 confirms the following:
'(1) Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken in accordance with paragraph (2) which are effective-
(a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or
(b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone'.
This means that an employer has a duty of care to ensure that his employees are safe whilst using the machinery. An employer has a responsibility to maintain the lathe and take measures to avoid hazards, including:
- Providing information and training on how to safely operate the machinery
- Having clear and accessible stop controls
- Having suitable guards to enclose dangerous parts of machinery and stock-bars
- Enabling isolation from power source when exposure to dangerous parts is required e.g. maintenance work
Generally, the machine should be well maintained and in good working order. If these standards are not followed and an employee has an accident on the machine, such as getting their hand caught, then the employee may be entitled to make a personal injury claim.
Conveyor belt accidents
Employees who are using conveyor belts should be given training that facilitates their safe use. They should understand how to use the belt, and what to do if there is a malfunction.
Organisations that are responsible for staff using conveyor belts must:
- provide suitable training to operators
- ensure dangerous parts are not exposed, and protected by the use of guards or covers where needed
Whether you are an employee, customer, or site visitor, if you have been injured because of an accident involving a conveyor belt, you may be entitled to compensation.
Log splitter injuries
The HSE have investigated several incidences of people being injured by log splitters. According to the HSE, accidents involving log splitters or 'firewood processing machines' are often the result of a lack of training regarding their safe use, or inadequate protective equipment.
The Health and Safety Executive recently questioned the safety of firewood processing machines, and suggested that not all log splitters comply with the Machinery Directive (as implemented in the UK by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008).
Employers must also ensure that staff using log splitters understand how to do so in a manner that does not endanger their own safety, or that of others in the vicinity. A work accident claim may be made if an employer has failed in this duty.
Is my employer liable?
Employers have a strict duty to provide suitable equipment for their employees.
It is an employer's responsibility to ensure that all work machinery is safe to use, well-maintained and that staff are trained in its use.
The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 places a duty of care on employers to ensure that:
- Safety measures are in place and enforced
- Machines are safe and fit for purpose
- Machines are used safely and correctly
These duties include:
- Performing regular maintenance of machinery
- Prioritising completion of essential repairs
- Carrying out risk assessments to ensure machinery is operated safely during work processes
- Training all staff using the machinery how to operate it safely and correctly
- Providing suitable protective clothing, and ensuring this is always worn by staff when operating machinery
If an employer fails to implement these safety measures, they are in breach of their duty of care. They could be found to be negligent and liable to pay compensation for injuries caused.
Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 were introduced on 6 April 2022.
This legislation means that employers have an obligation to provide free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all workers, including workers who are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract.
Under the previous 1992 regulations, employers were only required to provide PPE to employees with a formal employment contract.
If you are injured by machinery at work and your employer failed to provide you with suitable PPE, you may be entitled to claim compensation - even if you are self employed.
How do I make a claim?
There are statutory time limitations for filing dangerous machinery claims. In the majority of cases, a claim must be started within three years of an accident.
If you are not sure whether you want to make a claim, a confidential consultation with a personal injury solicitor will give you valuable advice concerned medical treatment and the gathering of evidence.
Gathering evidence to support your claim
You can decide to proceed with your claim at a later date, if you wish, knowing that the evidence that will strengthen your claim is already collected.
One of the most important steps to take is to get a medical report. This will need to come from a qualified medical expert, but cannot be your GP. Your solicitor can advise further on this point.
The medical report will confirm the nature and extent of your injury, and will be one of the pieces of evidence needed to calculate your compensation.
Your solicitor will need to prove your injury was caused by the negligence of your employer. This may require specialist help, such as expert technicians to assess the safety of the machinery.
Am I entitled to make a dangerous machinery injury claim?
In general, you can claim compensation if you were hurt:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- another person or organisation was to blame, and;
- they owed you duty of care.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
Can I make a claim even if I'm partly liable?
Pinpointing liability for an accident will depend on the context, with different legal principles applying to different circumstances.
In our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers felt they were at least partly responsible for their accident or injuries.
You could still have a valid claim if you were partly to blame for your injury or illness. If you were injured at work, you can claim compensation from your employer even if you or a co-worker caused the accident.
How much compensation can I claim for a dangerous machinery injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Dangerous machinery injury
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your dangerous machinery injury such as emergency care, wound care, surgery and physiotherapy.
Employers' liability claims claims
Work accident claims are also known as employers' liability claims. Click on the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your work accident claim
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About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.