What Might Constitute An Unsafe Plant And Machinery Claim?
Claims for unsafe plant and machinery compensation have been made in a number of different industries, from factories and garages to processing plants. Most machinery accidents involve injuries to the hands or fingers, frequently where they become trapped in rotating parts of machines. Injuries caused by machines can vary in severity, and although some injuries are minor cases of cuts or scratches, many modern industrial machines are extremely powerful and may easily result in crushes,breakages and lacerations.
These injuries have been known to require amputation in severe cases. It is not only arms and legs which are at risk from dangerous machinery – injuries may be caused anywhere when equipment is not properly monitored or maintained. Where breakages or disintegration occur (which should be picked up during a routine risk assessment check), eye injuries can be caused by pieces and particles flying off machines at high speed.
Many more cases occur due to the incorrect provision of equipment. When wearing ill-fitting or loose protective gloves or jewellery such as rings, necklaces or bracelets – which may snag on moving parts, injury may also be sustained. An employer should warn against wearing these items in training, and, where possible, provide suitable working uniform. Regardless of a worker’s past experience in other working environments, the absolute safest way for employers to ensure minimal blame in the eyes of the law in the event of an accident is to assume workers are completely naïve, and take a back-to-basics approach with safety training. The employers must also consider and assess whether the work equipment and machinery can be safely operated with the range of personal protective equipment provided. If not, they must then make any necessary changes. Where duties are neglected, successful personal injury claims may sometimes be built.
Crush injuries requiring reconstructive surgery are commonplace as are serious lacerations, amputations and de-gloving incidents (where the skin is stripped away from the hands and fingers).
The most common examples of unsafe machinery in the workplace include:
- Machinery with an exposed flywheel
- Equipment with an unguarded sharp tool, such as a cutter, blade, pulley belt or emery wheel
- Electrical machinery that is improperly insulated, has loose or exposed wires or insufficient grounding
- Derricks or cranes which are poorly maintained or defective, resulting in potential accidental drops of heavy equipment or overturning
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities?
Most machinery poses hazards when not maintained, guarded, or used properly, and so employers should be aware of these risks and take the necessary measures to prevent them. Those working with machines should always receive appropriate training and guidance from their employer on the safe and effective use of equipment. The employer should be aware of the best-practice procedures relating specifically to their machinery as they have a legal requirement to carry out a risk assessment, which will alert them to any potential hazards, guiding the provision of training.
Once a risk assessment has been performed, an employer can then look to mitigate danger where possible. This might include the installation of fixed guards to cover unguarded rotating parts, tripwire cables to halt machine activity if a worker accidentally becomes caught, and sensors on the machine which detect when to cease operation in the event of an accident. It may also include regular training provided to employees on risks and useful measures to deal with emergencies. Employers are responsible for the provision of appropriate PPE and well-fitting clothing to employees (to avoid their clothes snagging on working machinery), and where this is inadequate or absent causing injury, a compensation claim might be built.
There should also be proper procedures in place that ensure that machines have their power supply turned off during maintenance and cleaning to prevent the possibility of electrical damage or chemical reaction. Untrained personnel should be restricted from entry into work areas which contains potentially unsafe machinery, and any malfunction or fault in a machine should be repaired as soon as it is observed. During repair, equipment must be removed from service until completion. Where an employer fails to live up to their responsibilities, causing personal injury through no fault of your own, you may be able to build a claim for compensation.
Where Can I Find Out About My Rights?
To ensure the long-term safety of workers, there are three main pieces of legislation which govern the management and repair of unsafe equipment.
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
- The Management Of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW)
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPEW)
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) states generally that personnel must be issued with PPE, tools and equipment that are safe to use and suitable for the task at hand – but only after they have been trained to use it. It provides detailed guidelines on some best practice methods in operating work equipment to avoid personal injury for employers and employee alike.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW) requires all employers, including the self-employed, to assess the risks that may affect the health and safety of employees and anyone else affected by what they do while at work. It states primarily the responsibility of site managers in monitoring equipment and ensuring all employees are aware of the risks the face.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPEW) places more emphasis on PPE; requiring that PPE, tools and equipment are inspected and maintained to ensure suitability, and guides employers on provision of instructions for the safe use of equipment should be provided. Employers should be familiar with all three pieces of legislation, and implement them into everyday working practice.
Unsafe Plant And Machinery Claims
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a machinery accident, it is advisable to speak to us today for advice, as there are strict time limits in place when it comes to filing a personal injury claim of this type.
Due to the ample legislation in place, employers have very little excuse for allowing these accidents to happen. If you are injured as a result of their neglect for these legal requirements, you are well within your rights to make an unsafe plant and machinery claim for compensation.
Whilst a claim cannot make your injury disappear, any compensation acquired can help pay towards better treatment, providing the financial security needed to take some time off to recuperate. If you feel you have grounds for a machinery accident claim, speak to us.
Unsafe Plant And Machinery Resources
Our comprehensive guide to the problem of accidents sustained at work, called Workplace Accidents – The Occupational Hazard, details all types of common claims from falls to electric shocks to hearing loss, alongside remarkable statistics on their occurrence.
If you would like more information on preventative measures for work, or if you would like precautionary measures to present to your employer, The Health and Safety Executive provides useful guidance on Personal Protective Equipment, as well as printable brochures, guides and posters for machinery use in and around the workplace.
We pride ourselves on our provision of first-class legal advice and support. Our team of expert solicitors have a wealth of expertise, and knowledge, that you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. For free, expert advice on pursuing a machinery accident claim, speak to us today.