Farm equipment injury compensation claims
The following guide sets out what you need to know about making a successful farm equipment accident compensation claim.
Recent data shows that around 14,000 workers in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector reported workplace injuries during the last 12 months. This represents 4.3% of the workforce and compares with an average of 1.9% in other industries.
Another survey commissioned in 2014 by the European Union Occupational Safety and Health Agency (in collaboration with the HSE) identified there was a risk of accidents from machines or hand tools in 80% of workplaces within that sector.
If you have suffered a farm equipment injury in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Farm vehicles with poorly maintained brakes, axles, wheels or tyres may roll-over, with serious consequences for the driver and any colleagues.
Many agricultural machines have potentially dangerous moving parts, for example chopping mechanisms, rotating rollers and conveyors, and power take-off (PTO) shafts. These should be covered by a protective guard, but where this is defective or missing from equipment, clothing, hair or limbs may be dragged into the machinery, causing serious injury.
Agricultural machines may have several power sources - mechanical, hydraulic and electrical, which may fail if defective. A hydraulic lift that fails may fall and crush a worker, or a malfunctioning electrical stopping device may lead to an employee being trapped between 2 items of machinery.
Leaking hydraulic oil from a burst hose may be projected at sufficient pressure to penetrate the skin, or burn the eyes.
Even simple equipment such as ladders or chains may cause injury through being defective - a chain with loose or weak links may suddenly break and recoil, hitting a worker.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty on companies and individuals to ensure that precautions are taken to make work as safe as practically possible.
This includes ensuring agricultural vehicles, trailers and appliances are maintained in an efficient working order and in good repair
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) also apply to any equipment used at work - including tractors, air compressors, chainsaws and even ladders. Equipment must be suitable for the task, properly maintained and guarded, and adequate training and information about the equipment must be available for employees.
The regulations apply to employers, the self-employed and any person in control of work equipment; including the hirer or anyone who lends a machine out.
Recognising that farmers and operators may need assistance to comply with legislation, the FVHCS - a joint initiative by the National Farmers' Union (NFU) National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) and British Agricultural & Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA) - is a code of practice setting out information on how to select, use and maintain agricultural equipment, in a practical manner, using a common set of forms.
The scheme emphasises the need for safety information to be easy to understand and specifies what must be included. It highlights the need for training and supervision of younger people and casual workers who may be inexperienced and unfamiliar with the working environment, and stresses that employees with limited or no English must undergo proper induction.
Advising that daily checks should be conducted to ensure machinery is safe and working correctly, it states that any defects should be repaired before equipment is used.
All equipment should undergo regular maintenance checks and must also be regularly checked for signs of deterioration. Logs should be kept up to date.
Check sheets are provided through the FVHCS and employers are urged to keep a record of checks and repairs done to demonstrate that machinery is well-maintained.
Only those who have completed the appropriate level of training should carry out repairs and maintenance work.
With so much legislation and guidance in place there should be fewer accidents. However some employers may fail in their duty of care, by allowing equipment to deteriorate, not repairing faults, using substandard replacement parts, making in-house modifications and even utilising home made machinery.
Asking an employee to use a machine that is unsuitable for the purpose for or the conditions in which it is used is also a breach of the employer's duty of care, as is expecting him to use equipment without having proper training.
Farmers and their employees generally have a very close working relationship and a claimant may be reluctant to bring a claim; sometimes partly blaming himself for the accident. However it should be noted that any successful claim will be paid by the employer's insurer, not the employer, therefore a claimant should not hesitate to claim to recover his losses.
A No Win, No Fee agreement, or CFA (Conditional Fee Agreement), comprises the start of almost all injury claims.
A Conditional Fee Agreement lays out the terms and conditions between your solicitor and you. The document details the work the solicitor handling your case provides and a percentage-based "success fee" to be taken from your compensation if your case is won.
You have absolutely no hidden fees when working with a Quittance solicitor. You can prioritise your rest and recovery, with the knowledge that there is nothing to pay at the outset.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our farming accident compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
Accidents at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.
Find out if you can claim farm equipment injury compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
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About the author
With over 20 years' experience in the law, Jenny has spent the last decade specialising in personal injury, with a particular focus on industrial disease cases.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert