A guide to making a No Win No Fee shutter injury work accident claim
Electronic shutter doors are a common feature of shops, warehouses, factories and distribution centres.
Most are fitted with safety mechanisms to prevent them from causing injury, such as a magic eye sensor that stops the shutter from closing if something is the way, or a device to limit the force of the door as it opens or closes.
Even with safety features in place, the Health and Safety Executive has reported that industrial and commercial roller shutter doors have been the cause of a number of serious accidents. Anyone who has been injured by a defective, dangerous or unsuitable shutter in a work accident or an accident in a public place may be eligible to make a compensation claim.
Factors causing shutter injuries
Shutters can cause injury in a number of ways including:
- Shutters falling or closing in a fast and uncontrolled way
- Automatically operated shutters closing suddenly and unexpectedly trapping or crushing the victim
- Malfunctioning shutters hitting someone or knocking them to the ground.
Injuries can range from a trapped finger to broken bones, internal injuries and amputations. Serious fractures and crush injuries to the upper limbs may lead to secondary conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Shutter accidents can in most cases be avoided if the property owner or occupier undertakes a proper risk assessment and ensures that the full range of appropriate safety measures are installed.
The duties of a property owner or occupier
Where properties are open to members of the public, such as shops, supermarkets and libraries, the property owner has a duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent visitors from being injured.
The relevant legislation is the Occupier's Liability Act 1957. If the property owner does not keep the shutter in a safe condition, or warn visitors against using a broken shutter, then a claim for compensation may be made.
The duties of an employer
Employers have a legal duty to protect any members of staff who might be working with or near shutter doors. As these doors are powered electronically, they are classified as a piece of work machinery and must comply with both The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
Under PUWER, employers must ensure that a powered shutter door is:
- Fit for its intended purpose, that is, meets minimum performance standards such as those laid down in BS EN 12453: 2001
- Regularly maintained and inspected to ensure that it is safe for use
- Used only by people who have received the appropriate instruction and training
- Accompanied by suitable health and safety measures such as warning signs or a dead man switch
- Used in accordance with specific requirements such as manufacturer's operating instructions.
These important rules mean that an employer can be held liable to ensure that shutters are maintained in an efficient state of repair and in good working order.
If you would like to discuss your options or require more information, call Quittance for a free consultation with a solicitor on 0800 612 7456.
If you are ready to begin the claims process, you can call us on 0800 612 7456 or start your claim online now.
Alternatively, you can request a callback at a more convenient time.