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Factory Accident Claims

Claiming for factory accident compensation

Your employer has a responsibility to provide a working environment which is as safe as possible for you and your colleagues. In the past, factories were extremely dangerous places to work, with an ever-present risk of injury from machinery and harmful substances, as well as the possibility of developing a long-term condition or illness due to poor working conditions.

Safety at work has thankfully improved over the years. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and its associated regulations, sets out basic legal standards which every employer is legally required to meet.

Although negligence can happen beyond the limits set out in the law, it still provides a useful guide for the kind of health and safety measures which you should expect your employer to take to prevent factory injuries.

If they’ve failed in their legal duty of care to you and you are injured as a result, then you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.

Making a compensation claim for a factory accident can help you to start rebuilding your life, while also helping ensure your place of work is safer, and hopefully prevent accidents from happening again in the future.

To begin the claims process, you can get in touch with a legal adviser for free advice and in complete confidence on 0800 234 6438. They’ll let you know whether they think you’re eligible to make a case, and can then pass you on to a specialist personal injury solicitor.

DID YOU KNOW: Compensation will not come directly out of your employer’s pocket. Employers are required to be covered for at least £5m in employer’s liability insurance.

What is a work-related injury?

A workplace injury is any form of harm you come to in your workplace while you are doing your job, that was caused by someone else’s accident or mistake. Workplace factory accidents can come in all sorts of forms – and the resulting injuries can range in severity.

What are the main causes of a factory accident?

Some of the common causes of factory accidents include:

  • faulty equipment being used;
  • a safety hazard being overlooked, either intentionally or accidentally;
  • incorrect use of safety equipment, or the wrong equipment being used;
  • cluttered aisles or badly stacked shelves or storage cupboards;
  • falling objects;
  • unsafe ladders;
  • machinery being operated without sufficient safeguards in place to protect workers;
  • not providing workers with proper personal protective equipment, adequate training, supervision or support;
  • wrongly stored chemicals;
  • required security and safety protocols not being followed.

What types of factory accidents are there and what injuries can result?

When machinery is malfunctioning or not properly used, or when safety procedures aren’t correctly followed, all sorts of accidents can occur and the consequences can be very severe indeed.

Scenarios that can cause serious injury or death include:

  • slips, trips, and falls on the same level;
  • falls from height;
  • limbs caught in machinery;
  • struck by a moving forklift truck;
  • toxic chemical spills or gas leaks;
  • explosions;
  • falling objects;
  • heavy machinery malfunction.

These types of accidents at work can cause untold harm to factory workers. Workers exposed to unsafe conditions could suffer from broken bones, nerve or muscle damage, severed limbs, crushed appendages, tissue or organ damage, head or neck trauma, spinal cord and back injuries, burns, psychological damage, paralysis, permanent disability, or even death.

DID YOU KNOW: 20 workers were killed in the manufacturing industry in the UK in 2020, and an average of 57,000 injured a year over a three year period.

Industrial illness or injury claims

You may suffer harm not through a one-off accident in the factory but because of an illness or condition which was brought on in the course of your employment in a factory environment.

Known as an industrial injury, you may be able to submit a personal injury claim and claim compensation if you were employed or if you were on an employment training scheme or course when the event causing your illness or condition arose and it was due to someone else’s negligence.

Such illnesses and conditions caused by negligence in the workplace sometimes develop over a long period of time, and can cause extreme pain, mental distress and sometimes even long-term disability or death.

Common industrial illnesses which may entitle you to make a claim include:

  • Hernia – A hernia occurs when there is a tear or weakness in the muscles of the abdomen or groin causing fatty tissue or a part of your bowel to push through, sometimes creating a bulge.
  • Slipped disc (sometimes called a prolapsed or herniated disc) – An injury to the back caused when soft tissue between the bones in the spine is pushed out. This injury can be painful if it presses on a nerve.
  • Pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma and asbestosis – lung conditions affecting those exposed to asbestos dust or fibres.
  • Industrial deafness or hearing loss – partial or complete loss of hearing caused by being overly exposed to a noisy environment.
  • Vibration white finger – also known as hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), this condition affects people who have worked with vibrating equipment, for example, drills.
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI) – painful inflammation of the tendons in the arm and hand, usually caused by repeated small movements.
  • Dermatitis – painful irritated skin that has been exposed to dangerous substances or chemicals.
  • Bronchitis and emphysema – chronic lung diseases usually caused by breathing in dust particles.
  • Asthma and lung disease – silicosis, occupational asthma, lung cancer and asbestosis can all be caused by exposure to dust or fumes containing irritants.
  • Occupational cancers – lung cancer, nasal cancer, skin cancer and bladder cancer can all be triggered by carcinogenic chemicals and hazardous dusts.
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee – the most common form of arthritis, this causes thinning of the cartilage in your knee joint and the surfaces of the joint to roughen.
  • Skin conditions/dermatitis – being exposed to hazardous chemicals at work can lead to a number of skin conditions.
  • Cataracts – this affliction of the eyes is caused by frequent or prolonged exposure to radiation from red-hot or white-hot material.

The above are just examples – if your own experience isn’t listed, then don’t worry. If you feel that you’ve developed any industrial disease or condition as a direct result of negligence on the part of your employer, then you should speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or submit the online claim form to request a call back.

What are the common causes of an industrial injury?

An industrial injury can happen in a number of ways, with some of the most common causes being:

  • insufficient safety protection;
  • inadequate training, supervision and support;
  • manual handling accidents;
  • manual lifting, for example because you are forced to carry heavy loads over extended periods, without the correct training or the right equipment.

What responsibilities does your employer have to keep you safe?

Media coverage can lead some people to think that work accidents are fairly trivial, but the fact that 142 people were killed at work in 2020/21, according to Health & Safety Executive (HSE) statistics, while 441,000 suffered some form of personal injury, would suggest that there’s still a lot of room for improvement to safety conditions in many workplaces.

Some of this may be explained by employers who don’t fully appreciate their responsibilities, instead just thinking that ‘accidents will happen’ and that taking risks is simply part of earning a living.

The truth of the matter is that under health & safety laws, any employer is expected to:

  • carry out a full risk assessment of the workplace and, in factories employing more than five people, produce a written version of this risk assessment;
  • explain the risks to their employees, as well as the precautions needed to stay safe;
  • consult with employees to keep an effective safety regime;
  • provide any training necessary for safety free of charge;
  • provide and look after any safety equipment needed;
  • 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’s easy for employees to access and read.

What duties do I have at work as an employee?

Health and safety laws also impose some duties on employees when they are in the workplace. These can include:

  • taking care of the health and safety of themselves and other persons;
  • to cooperate with any requirement imposed by the employer so the employer can comply with any required duty;
  • not to intentionally or recklessly interfere or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare.

What should I do if I have been injured in a factory accident?

If you’ve been injured in a factory and feel your employer didn’t display the kind of diligence and safety awareness outlined above, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. You should start the factory accident claims process as soon as possible – not only will this mean that details of the accident will still be fresh in your mind, but it will also make it easier to gather evidence which a personal injury lawyer will use to build your case.

For example, evidence could 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;
  • photos of the location of the accident;
  • financial records detailing any expenses which have been caused directly by your injury, and any details which could be used to calculate future costs.
DID YOU KNOW: The three-year time limit for claims relating to workplace illnesses, such as respiratory problems, starts from the date upon which the illness was first diagnosed.

My family member died in a factory accident – can I claim compensation?

It is truly heartbreaking to lose a loved one in an accident. On top of the emotional turmoil which can be caused by such a life-changing event, you may also be faced with financial difficulties – for example, you may have been financially dependent on the person who passed away.

You may be able to make a compensation claim if you are:

  • a dependant of the deceased person;
  • a close family member of the deceased person;
  • the estate of the deceased.

Making a claim at such a difficult time will probably be the last thing on your mind, but the money you receive can really help you start to rebuild your life. For example, your compensation could cover:

  • bereavement – the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the death;
  • dependency – if you relied on the deceased for some or all of your income;
  • funeral expenses.

Don’t let the cost of claiming compensation put you off. Most personal injury solicitors operate on a no win no fee* basis. Meaning it won’t cost you a penny if your claim isn’t successful.

Can I lose my job for making a factory accident claim?

It’s against the law for your employer to fire you or treat you any differently if you make a claim against them following an accident at work.

The compensation you receive won’t come directly from your employer – their insurance company will cover the cost of any pay out.

In the unlikely scenario that you are dismissed because of your claim, this would be considered unfair dismissal, and you would be able to take further legal action against your employer.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, all employers have a duty to ensure the risk of their workers being injured is kept to a minimum by adhering to health and safety procedures.

This includes making sure you’re given the right training, equipment and supervision needed to safely perform your job, and to carry out regular risk assessments to ensure all necessary precautions are taken.

If they breach this legal duty and you have injuries sustained as a result, then you’re well within your rights to make a claim for compensation.

Starting a compensation claim for a factory accident or industrial illness

If you have had a workplace accident in a factory or think you’ve developed an industrial disease due to your employer’s negligence, you can call a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. They’ll be able to let you know whether they think you can make a claim, such as a fall from height claim, and can answer any questions you may have.

If you decide you’re ready to go ahead, your legal adviser will pass you on to an expert solicitor who will ask some more questions about your case and will make your claim on a no win no fee basis.

Basically, if your case isn’t successful you won’t have to pay your solicitor costly legal fees. If you win, your solicitor will take their “success fee” from the compensation you are awarded.

The percentage taken by your solicitor will be agreed before they take on your case, and can only be a maximum of 25 per cent of the final compensation amount you receive.

To successfully make a compensation claim for a factory injury, your solicitor will start gathering evidence to prove that your employer was negligent. Your solicitor will show that they owed you a duty of care (which they usually do by default); that your employer failed in their duty of care to you, and that you suffered harm as a result.

In most workplace accident cases, negligence would be found if the employer responsible had failed to act in the same manner as a ‘reasonable person’ would act in the same circumstances.

What is the process for making a factory injury claim?

Unless your claim is particularly high value or is very complicated, it will generally be made by your specialist personal injury lawyer using the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers’ Liability and Public Liability) Claims. This sets standards and procedures that parties to a claim must follow before formal court proceedings are issued. They aim to encourage parties to settle their dispute without the matter having to go to court and to ensure all the paperwork is in order and deadlines followed if the case cannot be settled out of court.

Once your claim is under way, your solicitor will be able to do most of the work on your behalf, so you’ll have the time and energy to focus on your recovery.

Starting a claim is simple – the first step is to speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or request a call back by submitting your name and number at the bottom of this page.

They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have and can let you know whether they think you have a claim, and if you wish, to pass you on to a specialist solicitor who will be able to negotiate your compensation on your behalf.

How much compensation will I receive for a factory accident claim?

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on how serious your injuries are and how long it’s likely to take you to recover. Your solicitor will look at the full impact of your accident and will work hard to make sure you receive the maximum compensation you’re owed. For example, your compensation could cover:

  • out-of-pocket expenses – such as prescription costs, medical treatment, transport and accommodation costs, and loss of earnings due to your injury.
  • pain and suffering – including the psychological and emotional effects, as well as the way your injury has impacted on your hobbies and social life.

If your injury leaves you with a long-term disability, you may also be able to claim compensation to make any necessary adjustments to your home and vehicle.

Because personal injury solicitors look at each case on an individual basis, it’s not possible to say exactly how much compensation you might be able to receive before starting your claim – however, you can use our compensation calculator to get a guideline figure.

What if my factory accident was partly my fault?

If you were partially responsible for the accident (known as contributory negligence), or your injuries were made worse because, for example, you were not using equipment exactly as specified by your employer’s instructions when the accident happened, you may still be able to claim compensation – provided someone else was partly to blame too. In such circumstances, your compensation package would be reduced depending on how much the court feels you are to blame for your injuries.

For example, if the court feels that you were 40 per cent responsible for your injuries, a £20,000 compensation payout would be reduced to £12,000. However, if your injuries were not connected with your actions, contributory negligence is unlikely to be found.

When considering contributory negligence the court will follow the ruling in AC Billings v. Riden, and will assess whether you acted reasonably in taking the risk. Your age and experience will also play a part in the standard of behaviour that should be applied.

For example, less will be expected if you are a newly qualified employee than a highly experienced one.

If the you recklessly ignored you employer’s practices and procedures though, and were not mindful of your own safety, contributory negligence is more likely to be found, regardless of your age or experience.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.