Industrial accidents refer to any injury sustained at work, whether in an office, factory, supermarket or another workplace. No matter where you work, your employer must take all reasonable measures to protect your health, safety and wellbeing.
Due to an increased focus on health and safety issues, industrial accidents have been steadily decreasing in the UK. Nonetheless, 51,211 accidents that resulted in severe injury or death were reported under RIDDOR in 2020/21.
Poor training and housekeeping, lack of safety equipment and no risk assessments are common causes of industrial accidents. To avoid industrial injuries, employers must comply with several pieces of legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Industrial accident claims are the formal process of recovering compensation from an employer if they failed in their duty of care towards you. Common types of accidents leading to a claim include slips, trips and falls, machinery accidents, being struck by an object and manual handling accidents.
If you feel you may have a valid claim for industrial injuries compensation, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Or, if you prefer, leave your details to receive a call back.
If you can claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee agreement. This means you can pursue compensation without having to worry about upfront fees and legal costs, and without taking any financial risks.
Can I make an industrial accident claim?
If you feel that you may have valid grounds to make an industrial accident claim, a free consultation with a legal adviser can help clarify the situation. Usually, a claim should be possible if:
- Your employer breached their duty of care towards you by acting negligently
- That led to an accident in the workplace
- You suffered an injury as a result in the last three years
You are entitled to make a claim even if you were partially responsible for your accident, as long as you share less than 50% of the blame. In this case, your compensation award will be reduced by a percentage equal to your part of the fault.
Furthermore, you could claim industrial injuries compensation from your employer even if they were not directly responsible for your accident. This is known as vicarious liability and means that an employer might be responsible for the actions of their employees.
Your solicitor will ask you for details about the incident to determine who might be liable for your injuries. After assigning liability, they will gather all the available evidence to prepare a strong claim. Some things you could do after the accident to help your case include:
- Take photographs of the accident scene, the cause of your injury, and relevant faults in equipment or machinery
- Take pictures of any visible injuries and keep a photographic record of your recovery
- Seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible, either at your GP surgery, A&E or minor injuries unit. Medical records are an essential piece of evidence in industrial accident claims.
- Get the contact details of any witnesses that might give a statement about how the events unfolded.
- If any CCTV cameras are monitoring the area, try to secure a copy of the accident footage. According to personal data laws, your employer has the legal obligation to provide this to you if requested.
- Report the accident to your employer and make sure the event is recorded in the company’s accident log book. This way, the risk can be minimised or removed to protect the health and safety of other employees. You are allowed to ask for a copy of the report, which will serve as evidence in your industrial accident claim.
- In certain circumstances, such as if your injuries were severe, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should be notified of your accident.
- Keep a diary of how the accident affected your life and the related financial losses and expenses.
Once they have all the necessary evidence, your solicitor will send a claim notification form to the defendant to inform them of your allegations of negligence. If they admit liability, you can start negotiating a settlement. Otherwise, you may have to issue court proceedings.
To start your industrial injury claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
What is classed as an industrial accident?
Industrial accidents do not only refer to accidents in a factory. They include accidents in all types of workplaces, such as offices, supermarkets, schools, shops, and building sites. No matter what job you do, if your employer fails to take reasonable steps to prevent an accident, you might be entitled to compensation.
The most common industrial accidents include:
Slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls can happen to anyone in any workplace. They are mainly due to slippery surfaces, uneven pavements, poor lighting or objects left in walkways. According to HSE statistics, slips and trips on the same level are the main cause of non-fatal workplace injuries.
Falls from a height are the number one cause of fatal accidents at work. The most common injuries caused by a fall from a height include strains, fractures, concussions and lacerations. They can result in severe or fatal injury even when the fall is less than two meters.
Any equipment and machinery can be dangerous if not handled properly. Adequate training and safety equipment is essential to prevent machinery accidents. These could cause cuts and lacerations, crush injuries, wounds from flying debris, amputations and even death.
Hazards such as faulty appliances, damaged chords and exposed electric wires put employees at risk of electrocution. Electricians, factory workers and building site workers are especially at risk of injury. Besides burns and muscle damage, an electric shock may cause damage to internal organs and the nervous system and may even be fatal.
Being struck by an object
Being struck by an object is the third most common cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries. Even a small object falling from a height could cause severe lacerations, concussions and fractures. Employees should be equipped with proper protective equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses and face shields in areas at risk for falling objects or flying particles.
Accidents involving hazardous substances
Accidents involving hazardous substances such as ammonia, sulphuric acid or sodium hydroxide can cause chemical burns, skin irritations or poisoning. Chemical burns can be extremely painful and cause disfigurement and psychological trauma. Employees should always wear adequate protection when working with hazardous substances.
Heavy lifting and manual accidents
Handling, lifting or carrying heavy items is one of the most common causes of non-fatal injuries in the workplace. Heavy lifting can result in injuries to muscles, joints and tendons, especially to the back and shoulders. Employers must carry out regular risk assessments and provide adequate training and equipment to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries.
Forklift truck accidents
Forklifts are the most dangerous form of workplace transport in the UK, accounting for 25% of workplace transport injuries. Most forklift accidents are due to vehicles tipping over, which makes them more dangerous for people working around them and not for the drivers.
If your employer is liable for your injuries, you could make an industrial accident claim. You do not have to worry that taking legal action will affect your job or the company you work for.
Under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, most employers are required by law to have insurance against liability for injury to their employees. Their insurance company will pay your compensation, while your employer will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.
Furthermore, according to unfair dismissal laws, it would be illegal for your employer to sack you because of your industrial injuries claim. Similarly, if they make it so that you feel you have no choice but to resign, it could be considered constructive unfair dismissal.
In both cases, they would be acting unlawfully, and you would be entitled to take them to an employment tribunal. You usually have the right to make a constructive or unfair dismissal claim if you have worked for your employer for at least two years, but there are some exceptions to this rule.
What are the most common causes of industrial accidents?
The consequences of an industrial accident may range from minor bruises and lacerations to amputations, traumatic brain injuries and even death. If your employer breached health and safety policies, causing your accident, you could make an industrial injury claim against them.
If your accident was due to any of the following causes, your employer might be liable for your injuries:
Lack of risk assessment
Risk assessment should be a standard tool to identify and eliminate hazards that could cause harm to employees. Under health and safety laws, employers must carry out regular risk assessments and instruct employees on how to deal with them. Failure to perform correct risk assessments can lead to severe injuries in the workplace.
Before starting a new job, employees should receive proper training to get familiarised with the working environment. They should also get hands-on experience using machinery, tools, materials and equipment. Safety training and education programmes should be held periodically.
Lack of safety protection
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is defined as all equipment intended to be worn or held by a person at work to protect them against one or more health or safety risks. Employers have a duty to supply their staff with adequate PPE whenever necessary, and they must also ensure employees have sufficient information, instruction and training on the use of PPE.
A messy workplace can be very dangerous for employees. Signs of poor housekeeping include:
- Cluttered or poorly organised workspaces
- Wet or dirty floors
- Improper storage of hazardous substances
- Objects or debris left in walkways
- Improper storage or stacking of items
- Spills and leaks
- Uneven or broken floors, stairs or platforms
Poor housekeeping can be a cause of many accidents such as slips and trips, falls from a height and being hit by falling objects. Employers must ensure the workplace has a good housekeeping program to avoid these hazards.
Accidents due to faulty or unsafe work machinery and equipment are usually less frequent but often result in severe injuries and even death. These include the following factors:
- Failure to carry out regular PAT testing
- Unsafely designed tools and machines
- Lack of or improper safety guards
- Inadequate fencing of machines
- Lack of emergency stop controls
- Faulty or improperly maintained electrical equipment
Poor weather conditions such as rain, snow or extreme temperatures can result in health hazards to workers and increase the risk of accidents. When working on scaffolds, in open spaces or with electrical equipment, employers should eliminate exposure to bad weather as far as reasonable and provide adequate protective equipment.
Stress, fatigue, overexertion and poor physical condition are less commonly acknowledged workplace hazards but can drastically increase the risk of injury. Employees must be in a good mental state and physically sound for their job. Employers must provide sufficient breaks and help workers with managing stressful situations.
Regardless of what caused your accident, if another party was at least partially responsible, you could make an industrial injuries claim. To find out if you have a valid claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
What steps should an employer take to prevent industrial injuries?
Employers must take all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of employees. As part of their duty, they must comply with several pieces of legislation, including:
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – states that employers have strict liability for personal injuries in the workplace if they fail to provide employees with:
- Information about safety policies and risk assessments
- Safe storage facilities, usage and transport for workplace materials
- Health and safety training and supervision
- Adequately maintained equipment and machinery
- Suitable and free of charge personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Good housekeeping and a safe working environment
The Act encourages and enforces high standards of workplace health and safety practices. If your employer fails to follow these requirements, you could make an industrial accident claim.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – states that employers are required to carry out regular health and safety risk assessments and apply the general principles of prevention, which include:
- Avoid risks when possible
- Evaluate risks which cannot be avoided
- Adapt the work to the individual, especially regarding the workplace design, equipment and the choice of working and production methods
- Adapt to technical progress
- Develop a coherent protection policy
- Give appropriate instructions to employees
Once a risk assessment has been completed, employers should:
- Put the required health and safety measures in place
- Provide health surveillance for significant risks
- Ensure procedures are in place for emergencies and imminent danger
- Provide adequate training to employees so they understand the risks and how to minimise them
- Take into account each employee’s age, experience and psychical condition
If your employer ignored a risk or failed to provide proper training and instructions, you may be entitled to industrial injuries compensation.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 – aims to prevent injury and death caused by falling from a height. Employers should follow the steps dictated by this guidance, including:
- Avoid work at height when it is reasonably practicable to do so
- Prevent falls by using the right and most suitable equipment for the job
- Ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
- Make sure the equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job
- Provide protection from falling objects
- Take account of weather conditions that could compromise worker safety
- Consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
Employers and those in control of any work at height must first assess the risks and then minimise them by taking the appropriate measures. If you fall from a height due to your employer’s negligence, you might be able to make an industrial injury claim.
The Manual Handling Regulations 1992 – employers must protect workers from the risks of injury due to hazardous manual handling tasks in the workplace by following a clear hierarchy of measures:
Avoid hazardous manual handling operations as far as possible by considering whether they can be automated or mechanised.
Assess any hazardous manual handling risks arising from the load, task, working environment, individual capacity and duration of the work.
Reduce the risk of injury as far as possible by:
- Providing details of the weight and nature (hot, slippery, sharp) of each load
- Repacking heavy cargos into smaller packages
- Changing the workspace to reduce bending, twisting and carrying distances
- Providing appropriate information and manual handling training
- Reducing the need to lift loads from floor level or above shoulder height
- Providing enough breaks during manual handling operations
Manual handling injuries are a common cause of industrial accident claims.
Many other laws aim to protect employees from industrial accidents, including:
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
- The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
If you suffered an accident in the workplace, your solicitor would use this legislation to prove your employer is liable for your injuries. If they breached their duty of care towards you, they might have to pay your industrial injuries compensation.
How much compensation is an industrial injury claim worth?
Industrial injury claims each have unique circumstances that will determine the value of the compensation award. Your solicitor will calculate the largest industrial injuries compensation you are entitled to by considering:
- The type and extent of your injuries
- Your recovery prospects and long-term or permanent effects
- How your accident has affected your work and personal life
- The out-of-pocket expenses you incurred
In every industrial injury claim, the compensation award will cover general and special damages. Special damages are awarded for actual financial losses and expenses incurred as a direct result of your accident, such as:
- Short-term medical expenses, including diagnostic tests, consultation fees, medication and hospital stay
- Long-term medical expenses such as physical therapy, psychological counselling and other medical treatments
- Travel costs to and from medical visits or meetings related to the claim
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your disability
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity, if you cannot return to work or you have to take a lower-paying job
- Care costs associated with the time someone spent to assist you with daily tasks, even if it was a friend or family member
General damages are awarded to compensate for the physical and psychological effects of the accident, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress, including anxiety, mental anguish, depression, PTSD
- Physical injuries and impairment, if you suffered scarring, disfigurement or disability
- Reduced quality of life due to pain, mobility restrictions, psychological trauma and other symptoms that can make daily tasks challenging
- Loss of companionship may be paid to loved ones in wrongful death cases
- Loss of consortium, if your injuries do not allow you to enjoy the company of your spouse as before
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
- Loss of amenity if your injuries affected your ability to enjoy a hobby, leisure activity or social event.
It is often difficult to calculate the exact monetary award for personal, general damages. Solicitors and courts will often refer to compensations awarded in similar cases and to the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. According to their guidance, you could receive:
- £13,740 – £50,060 for moderate to severe ankle fractures that might cause permanent disability
- £10,890 – £16,380 for a fractured humerus or rotator cuff tear needing surgery
- £36,770 – £122,860 for severe arm injuries causing disability, significant pain and suffering in one or both arms
- Up to £36,740 for severe finger fractures or amputation causing deformities and reduced function
- £12,510 – £38,780 for moderate back injuries such as ligament or soft tissue damage
- £12,700 – £25,350 for an ear injury causing partial hearing loss or mild to severe tinnitus
- £55,820 – £109,650 for a very severe hand injury such as the total loss of one hand
- £12,210 – £37,760 for a head injury such as a fractured skull and a related concussion
- £205,580 – £264,650 for severe brain injuries leaving the victim disabled and dependent upon others
- £43,710 – £67,410 for severe leg injuries with permanent symptoms such as pain and mobility issues
After your solicitor has fully assessed how your accident affected your life, they can give you an estimate of your industrial accident claim compensation prospects. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details, and you will receive a call back.
Can I make a no win no fee industrial accident claim?
If you have an industrial accident due to the negligence of another party, you might want to claim compensation for your pain, suffering and financial expenses. However, you may have some doubts about investing a lot of time and money into making an industrial injuries claim.
Fortunately, if your solicitor believes you have a reasonable chance of success, they will offer you a no win no fee service. This way, you can pursue compensation regardless of your economic situation and without taking any financial risks.
A no win no fee agreement means that your solicitor will offer their services without asking for any upfront fees. If they manage to win your case, you will pay them a success fee, which cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award. Most importantly, if you lose the claim, you do not owe them anything.
Another benefit of no win no fee claims is the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy your solicitor will take out on your behalf. This provides you with complete financial coverage if you lose the case, so you do not have to pay for charges such as:
- The legal expenses incurred during the claiming process
- Police and medical reports
- The defendant’s solicitor and legal fees
- Barrister and expert witness fees, if your case goes to court
Due to the no win no fee claiming option, you can enjoy all the benefits of having a solicitor represent you without the risk of losing any money. They will help you gather evidence, talk to witnesses and medical experts and handle legal documents while you can focus on your recovery.
Your solicitor will also contact the other side and try to secure the maximum compensation award you are entitled to. If negotiations fail and your case goes to court, they might be able to represent you and argue your case before the judge.
To find out if you can make a no win no fee industrial accident claim, call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser. Or, if you prefer, enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
Do industrial accident claims have a time limit?
Generally, the time limit to bring a personal injury claim is three years from the date of an accident. The last day you can start legal proceedings is known as the claim limitation date and is set out by the Limitation Act 1980.
If you do not make an industrial accident claim within the time limit, your case becomes statute-barred, and you may lose the chance to receive compensation. In particular circumstances, the courts may allow an extension by considering the following:
- The length of the delay in bringing an industrial injury claim
- The reason for the delay
- The nature and extent of the injury you suffered
- How fast you acted when you learned you could claim compensation
- The steps you took to obtain evidence and legal support
There are several situations where you do not have to bring a claim within three years after an accident. For example:
- The date of knowledge applies to cases where an injury or illness is not immediately apparent. In such a case, the three-year countdown begins when you become aware that you suffered an injury or illness and that your employer may have been at fault.
- In industrial accident claims where the victim is a child, the three-year limit starts once they turn 18. Before that point, a parent or guardian can claim on their behalf at any time.
- There is no time limit to claim industrial injuries compensation for a victim who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings. This could be due to having suffered a traumatic brain injury or a pre-existing condition such as bipolar disorder or depression. The time limit only starts to run once, or if they recover their intellectual ability.
- If a loved one was the victim of a fatal accident, you could make an industrial injuries claim within three years after they passed away, or you have learned the cause of their death.
- If you suffered an injury while working abroad, you might still be able to make an industrial accident claim. The time limit to take legal action may be subject to each country’s laws and could be shorter than three years.
It is advisable to always seek legal advice as soon as possible after having an industrial accident. This will give your solicitor enough time to gather evidence, consult with medical professionals and put together a strong case. As this can take a lot of time, most solicitors will not accept your case if you have less than six months to the limitation date, even if your claim is valid.