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.
This is something which changed gradually over the years, until the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 was passed. This, 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 steps which you should expect your employer to take. If they’ve failed in their duty of care to you and you are injured as a result, then you may be able to make a compensation claim.
Making a compensation claim for a factory accident can help you to start rebuilding your life and can also help to make your place of work safer, so that similar accidents don’t happen again in the future. To start a claim, you can get in touch with a legal advisor for free and in complete confidence on 0800 234 6438. They’ll be able to let you know whether they think you’ll be able to make a case, and can then pass you on to a specialist personal injury solicitor.
A work-place injury which might entitle you to compensation is any form of harm you come to in the 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 be of all kinds of severity.
Some of the common causes of factory accidents include:
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:
These types of accidents at work can cause untold harm to factory workers in the workplace. 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.
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 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:
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.
An industrial accident can happen in a number of ways, with some of the most common causes being:
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 693,000 suffered some form of personal injury at work in 2019/20, 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:
Health & safety laws also impose some duties on employees when they are in the workplace. This includes:
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 claims process as soon as possible – not only will this mean that 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:
It can be truly heart-breaking 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:
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:
It’s against the law for your employer to fire you or treat you any differently if you make a claim against them. They will have employers’ liability insurance to cover the cost of your compensation claim anyway so they won’t be out of pocket. 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 them.
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. 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 duty and you’re injured as a result, then you’re well within your rights to make a claim for compensation.
If you have had a factory accident in the workplace or think you’ve developed an industrial disease due to an 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 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 compensation 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 mostly do); that they 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 man’ would act in the same circumstances.
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 underway, 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. They’ll then be able to pass you on to a specialist solicitor who will be able to negotiate your compensation on your behalf.
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 all the compensation you’re owed. For example, your compensation could cover:
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.
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. So, if for example, 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.
Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years experience writing about the law.
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