Claim Compensation for Factory Injuries
If you work in a factory then you have a certain responsibility to try to ensure both your own safety and that of your fellow workers. This will involve:
— Following the training you receive carefully, making sure that you understand what you have to do and why.
— Ensuring you know exactly how to use any items of equipment your employer supplies you with.
— Speaking up and informing someone such as your employer, a health and safety representative or your supervisor if you feel that your own health and safety, or that of your co-workers, is being put at risk.
Over and above even this responsibility, however, sits that of your employer to provide a working environment which is as free from risk as is practically possible. In years gone by, factories in particular were extremely hazardous places in which to work, with the risk of injury from machinery and dangerous substances being matched by the chances of developing a long term condition or illness dues to poor working conditions. This is something which changed gradually over the years, usually with much resistance from the powers that be, until the passing of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 set out basic legal standards which every employer is legally obliged to meet.
Although negligence can occur beyond the limits and stipulations set out in the act, it still provides a very useful template for the kind of steps which you should expect your employer to take. Not only is this the right things to do, but it’s also a legal obligation, and an employer who fails in this duty of care deserves to find themselves on the wrong end of a compensation claim if any of their employees are injured. Not only will this allow the individual involved to start rebuilding their life, but it will also help to create a situation in which factory safety is seen as something desirable rather than, as is so often the case, a tiresome burden upon business.
The cost of negligence
The ironic fact is that those factory owners who attempt to save money by cutting corners on issues of safety are, in the end, placing an economic strain upon both their own business and the UK economy as a whole. According to the HSE, injuries and ill health brought about by working conditions costs the UK economy a total of around £14bn per year. Although only a percentage of this will have been caused by the conditions specifically in factories, the importance of health and safety in such places was recognised as long ago as 1961, with the introduction of The Factories Act, a piece of legislation which sets out in great detail the minimum standards expected in any factory around issues such as:
- Drainage of floors
The responsibilities of your employer
The media coverage of both health and safety issues and compensation claims might lead some people to believe that they are fairly trivial matters, but the fact that 142 people were killed at work in the period 2014-15, whilst 152,000 sustained an injury which required a 7 day absence during the same period, would tend to indicate that safety conditions in many workplaces still leave much to be desired.
Some of this may be explained by the fact that neither employees nor employers fully appreciate the responsibilities of the latter, accepting that ‘accidents will happen’ and risk is simply part of earning a living. The truth of the matter is that any employer is expected to:
- Carry out a full risk assessment of the workplace and, in factories employing more than 5 people, produce a written version of this risk assessment
- Explain the risks to their employees, as well as the precautions needed to remain safe
- Consult with employees in order to maintain an effective safety regime
- Provide all training necessary for safety free of charge
- Provide and look after any safety equipment needed free of charge
- Set up adequate first aid facilities
- Report incidents and injuries to the relevant authorities
- Take out Employers Liability Insurance to cover any compensation claims made, and have the insurance certificate (hard copy or digital) located where it is easy for employees to access and read
If you’ve been injured in a factory and feel that your employer didn’t display the kind of diligence and safety awareness outlined above, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. The first and perhaps most important piece of advice is to start the claims process as soon as possible. Not only will this mean that the circumstances of the accident are fresh in your mind, but it will also make it easier to gather the material which a personal injury lawyer will use to build your case. This will include:
- An entry in the workplace accident book
- If possible, CCTV footage of the event, which your employer has a legal obligation to hand over
- Records of any medical treatment required following the accident
- The contact details of any eyewitnesses
- Photographic records of the environment in which the accident took place
- Financial records detailing any expenses which have arisen directly from your injury, and any details which could be used to calculate expenses going forward, caused by factors such as time spent off work
Common accidents within factories include slips, trips and falls, being hit by falling objects, noise induced hearing loss, vibration white finger, falls from height, fork lift truck accidents, and exposure to defective machinery and manual handling problems. No matter what the nature of your injury, you may have a good case for compensation if the conditions which led to this injury could be considered to be negligent. Your case will be fought without any hefty upfront fees being charged, whilst the no win no fee system includes insurance to protect you from the financial consequences of losing a case.