Factories play a fundamental role in the economy of the UK. Manufacturing accounts for 15-22% of the entire country’s economy and around 18-27% of employment. In 2021, there were approximately 270,000 businesses within the manufacturing sector in the UK.
Nonetheless, factories can be dangerous places to work. Many hazards like loud noises, machinery, forklift trucks, chemicals or heavy lifting can cause severe injuries to factory workers. Unsafe working conditions could lead to muscle and nerve damage, fractures, crush injuries, traumatic brain injuries and even death.
Your employer has a legal duty to keep you safe from harm by strictly following the guidelines dictated by the relevant legislation. If they fail to do so and you suffer an injury, you might be able to make a factory accident claim.
If your claim is successful, the compensation award will cover the physical and psychological trauma you endured, as well as any related financial expenses. If you have a valid claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service, so you don’t have to worry about any upfront fees or legal costs.
Can I make a factory accident claim?
If another party was at least partially responsible for your accident, you might be eligible for factory accident compensation. Even if your employer was not directly responsible for your accident, you might still be able to claim compensation from them.
This is known as vicarious liability, and it means that employers are responsible for their employees’ actions. As long as you have evidence that another colleague’s negligence led to your injury, you may be able to make a factory accident claim.
Other claims may involve defective products like machinery or other pieces of work equipment. In these circumstances, your employer could be held liable for your injuries under the Employers Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969. Alternatively, a claim could potentially be made against the manufacturer of the equipment if it is found to be a manufacturing defect.
A free consultation with a legal adviser is the most straightforward way to find out if you can make a claim. Usually, this should be possible as long as:
- You suffered an injury in the last three years
- Another party was responsible for your accident
- That party had a duty of care towards you
Your solicitor will ask you relevant questions to determine who might be at fault for your injury. They will offer their support and advice to help you build a strong claim and negotiate a settlement with the liable party.
What are the main types of factory accidents?
There are many causes of factory accidents, from lack of training to poorly maintained equipment. An experienced solicitor could help you make a factory accident claim if your injury was caused by:
A slip, trip or fall
According to the Health and Safety Executive, slips, trips, and falls on the same level are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in factories. Spillages, wet floors, pavement defects and poor housekeeping are just some of the potential hazards that can cause these types of accidents. Employers have a duty to take all reasonable measures to identify and contain possible risks and prevent avoidable slips, trips and falls from occurring.
Falls from a height
Falls from a height are the number one cause of fatal injuries to factory workers. Common causes include falls from roofs, ladders, platforms, and fragile surfaces. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 includes a wide range of practices to improve the safety of employees when working above ground level.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) state the steps employers must take to reduce the risk of machinery accidents. All the equipment and machinery must be suitable for the intended use, well-maintained, and should have safety devices. Employees must receive the appropriate training and instructions before using any equipment.
Forklift truck accidents
According to statistics, forklift trucks are the most dangerous work vehicles, accounting for around 25% of workplace transport injuries. In the UK, around 1,300 employees are hospitalised each year with severe injuries following forklift accidents.
Employers must provide proper training and ensure drivers have a special forklift license. The vehicles should be regularly inspected and the working environment properly maintained to avoid accidents.
Manual handling injuries
Manual handling accidents are a common cause of factory injuries. Repetitive activities such as lifting and pushing heavy loads can cause wear and tear injuries or an acute traumatic accident. The back and upper limbs are the most affected body parts. Injuries may range from sprains and strains to slipped disks and nerve damage. Some manual handling injuries may cause permanent damage.
Being struck by an object
Employees must receive instructions on safely stacking items on shelves and transporting them. Workers should be equipped with hard hats and other protective equipment in areas at risk for falling objects. When working with equipment that produces flying particles, it is essential to wear safety glasses or face shields. Employers should hire competent people to manage falling hazards.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states all the requirements employers must meet to ensure the safety of workers. All electrical equipment must be tested and regularly maintained and should not be used in wet environments without the proper protection. Only trained or qualified personnel using adequate equipment should work with electricity.
Exposure to dangerous substances
Many factories use hazardous substances like acids, disinfectants, heavy metals, solvents or glues. If these substances come into contact with the skin or eyes or are inhaled or swallowed, they could cause severe poisoning, burns and health disorders. Factories should strictly follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 to identify hazards and minimise the risk of chemical-related accidents.
Lack of training and personal protective equipment (PPE)
When hazards and safety risks cannot be eliminated, it is essential that employees receive the proper training on how to recognise and minimise the risk of injury. Employers must also provide free and adequate PPE to all employees and make sure this is in a good state and safe to use.
If you or a loved one suffered any kind of accident at work, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced solicitor can let you know if you are eligible to make a factory accident compensation claim and answer any questions you may have. For a free consultation, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
What steps should an employer take to prevent accidents in factories?
The manufacturing sector is among the most dangerous places to work, with an average of 22 fatalities and more than 3,100 severe injuries each year. For this reason, it is essential that employers take all reasonable measures to keep accidents from happening. Some duties your employer must fulfil to keep you safe include:
- Make sure you receive the correct training for your job
- Provide and maintain all equipment and machinery in good working order
- Carry out regular risk assessments to identify and contain safety hazards
- Make sure you receive the proper manual handling instructions
- Provide suitable and free of charge PPE when necessary
- Ensure proper housekeeping to prevent slips and trips
- Make sure all electrical equipment is periodically checked and safe for use
- Have proper procedures in place for waste disposal
- Make sure all hazardous substances are correctly stored and handled
Six main regulations cover most health and safety issues in factories. They were introduced in 1993, following the EU directives, and were updated in 1999. They apply to all businesses regardless of size and function and comprise of the following:
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
These are the main set of regulations which place a legal duty on employers to carry out regular risk assessments as the first step towards ensuring the health and safety of workers. They must also take into account each employer’s age, experience and psychical condition and provide proper training and instructions.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR 1992)
The MHOR 1992 states that employers must seek to avoid hazardous manual handling tasks as far as reasonably possible. Operations that cannot be avoided must be thoroughly assessed to reduce the risk of injury to a minimum. It also advises employees on how to follow the systems in place and practice safe work without putting others in danger.
The Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations
These apply to factory workers who use display screen equipment such as computers or smartphones for more than an hour without a break. Employers must be aware of the associated risks and protect workers by doing a DSE workstation assessment. They should make sure workers have regular breaks and provide training and information on the associated risks.
The Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations
By law, businesses must provide welfare facilities to all employees. These regulations also include guidelines for the maintenance and upkeep of the premises. They cover a wide range of issues, such as temperature, cleanliness, floor conditions, falls and falling objects, ventilation and lighting. These regulations ensure that the environment you have to work in is in decent condition and free of avoidable hazards.
The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations 1992
Employers must provide suitable PPE whenever necessary, and this must be appropriate to the work done and the risk involved. The PPE must be kept in good repair, clean and replaced as often as necessary. Employers must also take all reasonable steps to ensure that the equipment provided is properly used.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment (PUWER) Regulations 1998
The PUWER regulations place duties on employers to make sure that all the equipment is safe and suitable for the intended use. They should carry out regular inspections and maintenance to ensure it is correctly installed and does not deteriorate. Only workers that have received adequate information and training should use the equipment.
If you had an accident at work due to a breach of any of these regulations, you might be entitled to make a factory accident claim. To find out if you could receive compensation, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.
What should I do if I’m injured in a factory accident?
If you have a factory accident, the first thing you should do is make sure you get immediate medical care for your injuries. If you do not need emergency care, you should gather as much evidence as possible at the scene before anything is moved or repaired.
Even if you believe the accident may have been your fault, you should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. They will ask you relevant questions about your work practices to determine if another party might be liable for your injuries.
If they decide you have a valid case, your legal adviser will offer their help and support to secure the factory accident compensation you deserve. Some things you should do after your accident that could help you win your claim include:
- Take photographs of the accident scene, capturing what caused your injuries.
- Take pictures of any visible injuries and keep a photographic record of your recovery process.
- Seek medical treatment for your injuries, either at your GP, the A&E or minor injuries unit. Your medical records will serve as valuable evidence in your factory accident claim.
- Get the contact details of any witnesses to your accident.
- If the area is covered by security cameras, ask for the CCTV footage of your accident. Under personal data law, your employer has the legal obligation to hand it over to you if requested.
- Report the accident to your employer and make sure it is recorded in the accident log book. You have the right to ask for a signed copy of the report, which will confirm the date, time and location of your accident.
- Keep track of any financial losses and expenses you incurred because of your injuries, as you will be able to recover these costs if your claim is successful.
You should not worry if you did not get the chance to gather much evidence after your accident. Your solicitor will investigate your case and help gather everything you need to make a strong factory accident claim.
How much is a factory accident compensation claim worth?
Each factory accident claim is unique, so it is difficult to say exactly how much compensation you might receive. Your solicitor will assess the full impact of your injuries to calculate a suitable compensation award for your damages.
In every personal injury claim, the compensation will cover the following:
Special damages or out of pocket expenses, such as:
- Medical treatments and interventions
- Prescription costs
- Travel and accommodation expenses
- Lost earnings if you had to take time off work
- Costs of private care
- Modifications to your home or vehicle
- Mobility aids
- Costs of care and assistance
- Any other financial expenses related to the accident
General damages for the injury itself and the impact it had on your life, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of prospects and amenities
- Impacts on your social life
- Reduced life expectancy
The Judicial College, a department of the Ministry of Justice, issues guidelines that solicitors use when calculating compensation awards. According to their guidelines, you could receive:
- £1,880 to £10,890 for a minor head injury with recovery within a few weeks
- £240,590 to £344,640 for severe brain injuries leading to significant disability or vegetative state needing full-time nursing and life expectancy under 15 years
- £26,010 to £38,850 for a severe facial injury, causing scarring, disfigurement and which may lead to eating restrictions
- £7,410 to £47,760 for moderate neck injuries such as disk lesions or spondylosis. Covers fractures and dislocations that may lead to movement limitation and permanent or recurring pain
- £11,730 to £26,050 for moderate back injuries such as prolapsed disks or spinal fusion
- £36,390 to £151,070 for severe back injuries such as spinal cord damage causing partial paralysis, impaired movement or loss of bladder or bowel function
- £33,430 to £111,690 for severe hip or pelvis fractures that may result in bowel damage or hip replacement surgery
- £16,380 to £33,430 for a moderate arm injury leading to long-term symptoms
- Up to £255,930 for amputation of one or both arms, depending on the amputated area and phantom pain
- £20,900 to £51,070 for a severe wrist injury causing permanent disability or loss of function
- £7,780 to £12,010 for minor leg injuries such as sprains, strains or simple fractures with recovery within a few months
- Up to £240,590 for amputation of one or both legs
- £11,730 to £59,730 for moderate foot injuries resulting in permanent deformity, restricted mobility and ongoing symptoms
Can I make a no win no fee factory accident claim?
If you suffered an injury in a factory accident without being entirely at fault, you might be entitled to compensation. The most straightforward way to find out if you have a valid factory accident claim is a free consultation with a legal adviser.
They will ask you for some details about the circumstances of your accident and your work practices to determine if your employer or another party might be liable for your injuries. If you have a valid claim with a fair chance of success, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service.
The unique advantages of a no win no fee agreement make it the preferred way to claim for personal injury compensation. These include:
- You can pursue compensation regardless of your financial status
- Your solicitor will offer their support and advice without asking for any upfront fees
- If your case is ultimately unsuccessful, you do not have to pay your solicitor at all
- If your case goes to court, you do not have to cover any barrister or expert witness fees
- You receive a free medical examination with an independent professional to assess the full extent of your injuries
Most of these advantages are possible because of the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy involved in no win no fee claims. Your solicitor will take out ATE insurance in your name at the beginning of the claim, which provides full financial coverage. If you lose the case, the insurance covers both your and the defendant’s legal fees.
If you win, the other side will have to cover the charges you incurred during the claim. You will only have to pay a success fee to your solicitor, and they will explain this fee to you in detail before starting legal proceedings. In any case, it cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award.
To find out if you can make a no win no fee factory accident claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How long do I have to claim for a factory accident?
Usually, the time limit to bring a factory accident claim is three years from the date you were injured. After the claim limitation date expires, your case becomes statute-barred, and it is no longer possible to claim for compensation.
If your injury developed over time due to wear and tear or environmental factors, you could claim factory accident compensation within three years after learning of your condition. In legal terms, this is known as the date of knowledge. Under exceptional circumstances, a judge may extend the time limit to make a claim depending on the length and reason of your delay.
The three-year limitation date does not apply to all circumstances. For example:
- A child under 18 could suffer a factory accident while working part-time or being on work experience. In this case, the three-year countdown begins once they become a legal adult, and they will have until their 21st birthday to make a claim. A litigation friend, usually a parent or guardian, could claim on their behalf at any point before they turn 18 years old.
- There is no time limit to claim compensation on behalf of a victim who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings. This could be due to an intellectual disability, neurodegenerative condition or mental disorder, or if they suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the factory accident. If the victim regains capacity, they will have three years to claim compensation.
- A family member could claim factory accident compensation on behalf of a loved one who suffered a fatal injury within three years from the date of their death.
- You could also make a factory accident claim if you suffered an injury while working abroad. The time limit can, nonetheless, vary significantly between countries. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible to avoid missing your chance to get compensation.
As a general rule, the sooner you contact a personal injury solicitor, the easier it is to collect evidence, speak to witnesses, and build a strong claim. Furthermore, it could take a considerable amount of time to prepare all the legal documents. Many solicitors will not accept a case with less than six months left before the limitation date.
Could I lose my job for making a factory accident claim?
If you suffered an accident at work, claiming against your employer could make you feel awkward. You might also worry that they may sack you or treat you differently afterwards or that your claim might leave them paying out of pocket expenses.
Rest assured that your employer will not be affected by your factory accident claim. Employers must have Employers’ Liability Insurance in place to cover personal injury claims. Your compensation claim would be awarded by their insurance company.
Furthermore, under employment law, they cannot terminate your contract or treat you differently if you claim factory accident compensation. It is unlikely that you will even have to discuss the claim with them. Your solicitor will contact their insurer and negotiate a settlement directly with them.
In the unlikely scenario that you will lose your job because of your claim, you should be able to take further legal action. The Employment Rights Act 1996 regulates unfair dismissal in the UK. The Act states that employers need a fair motivation to sack an employee based on their capability to do the job or for another substantial reason.
Generally, you could bring a claim for unfair dismissal only if you worked for at least two years at the factory, but exceptions apply when an employee was dismissed automatically. Similarly, you could have a case for constructive dismissal if your employer makes your job intolerable because of your claim.
If your accident was not your fault, you should consider that factory accident compensation could help your recovery and get you back on your feet. Furthermore, it could make a difference to other workers by improving the health and safety standards in the factory to prevent similar accidents from happening.
Can I still claim if the factory accident was partly my fault?
Even if you were partially responsible for your injuries, you should still be able to make a factory accident claim. Usually, you could still receive compensation if you had less than 51% responsibility for your accident. It will be up to you and your solicitor to prove that you shared a lower percentage of the blame.
This is known as contributory negligence, and your compensation award will be reduced based on your percentage of fault for the accident. For example:
- If the court decides you hold more than 50% of the blame, you will be denied compensation.
- If the court establishes that the accident was 25% your fault, you will receive 75% of the compensation that would have been due if you were at no fault at all.
Contributory or split liability can also occur if your employer is clearly responsible for your accident, but you acted in a way that worsened your injuries. For instance, you might have fallen and injured your leg due to a floor defect. If you refused immediate medical care, making your injury worse, you might receive a reduced compensation for that reason.
Your age and experience could also be considered when deciding liability. Less will be expected from new employees than from highly experienced ones. Nonetheless, you will likely be held partially responsible for your injuries if you recklessly ignored your employer’s instructions, regardless of your status.
Usually, your solicitor will agree upon the compensation deduction with the defendant’s insurer. If the two sides cannot reach a settlement and the case goes to court, the judge will decide on how to split liability.
You should never accept partial liability without first seeking legal advice. The evidence produced by both parties will have the final say in a factory accident claim.