As an employee, you have the right to work in a safe environment and receive the correct training and suitable protective equipment.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other regulatory laws state that employers have a duty of care to take all reasonable measures to prevent work accidents from happening.
When employers breach their duty of care by using faulty machinery and untrained personnel or not providing proper protective equipment, employees are at risk for injuries.
Machinery accidents can be dangerous and cause anything from minor injuries like cuts, burns or lacerations to spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, amputations and even death.
If you or somebody in your family suffered a machinery accident at work due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to make a machinery accident claim.
The compensation for a faulty machine accident can cover the pain, suffering and all the financial losses you incurred so you can move on with your life.
Can I make a machinery accident claim?
The most straightforward way to find out if you are eligible to make a machinery accident claim is to contact a solicitor.
Based on the circumstances of the accident, the extent of your injuries and any available evidence, they can let you know if you might be eligible to receive compensation.
However, as a basic rule, to be able to make a claim, you should give a positive answer to the following questions:
- Did your machinery accident take place in the last three years?
- Was somebody else at fault for your injuries?
- Did that person owe you a duty of care, which they breached?
When you think about a machinery accident, you might only imagine injuries caused by heavy machinery at the workplace. But you can still make a faulty machinery accident claim as a visitor, customer or another member of the public.
For example, if you suffered a burn or scald in a coffee shop due to a coffee machine malfunction, you could claim compensation from the party responsible for the premises. Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, businesses have a legal duty of care towards customers and visitors.
The claim limitation date is essential to keep in mind. In personal injury claims, you can usually start legal proceedings within three years from the accident date. Afterwards, the case becomes statute-barred, and it will no longer be possible to claim compensation.
The three-year rule does not apply in some circumstances:
- For child victims, the three-year countdown doesn’t start until they turn 18. While they are still minors, a litigation friend can claim machine injury compensation on their behalf at any point.
- There is no time limit to claim compensation on behalf of a victim who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings themselves. They will have three years to make a claim if they regain their intellectual ability.
- If the accident was due to a manufacturing or design error, under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, you could make a claim within ten years after the product’s launch date.
- A close family member could start a claim within three years from the death of a loved one if they suffered a fatal machinery accident.
Although you may have up to three years to claim compensation, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible after your accident.
Preparing a strong case might take a considerable amount of time, and most solicitors will not take on a claim with just a few months left until the limitation period.
What are employer responsibilities for machinery at work?
Every employer has the responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for employers. They must ensure workers are adequately trained and instructed to operate the equipment and machinery provided.
Employers have a duty to ensure that all machinery is safe to use and well-maintained and employee training and supervision is efficient and up-to-date.
Several health and safety laws regulate employers’ responsibility for risk assessments and workplace machinery and equipment:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
- The Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
These regulations cover all of your employer’s responsibilities. Their primary duties are to:
- Make sure all machinery is used correctly and safely.
- Prioritise essential repairs and remove or replace faulty equipment.
- Carry out regular risk assessments and address the risks employees might be taking by using particular machines.
- Ensure the equipment has proper guards fixed to prevent access to dangerous parts like sharp edges and blades.
- Provide suitable protective equipment: safety helmets, protective gloves and goggles, ear protectors, etc.
- Offer proper training and information to employees about machinery use and safety equipment.
- Ensure all dangerous machinery is used for the correct task by trained employees using proper safety equipment.
- Make sure only employees with the correct training can use the machinery.
- Verify that all dangerous machinery has the required safety protection, including warning and emergency stop buttons.
- Make sure that lifting operations are properly planned, supervised and carried out safely.
Employers are also responsible for all dangerous machinery supplied by somebody else, as long as they function in the workplace supervised by them. They should always consider the dangers posed to you and all other employees when high-risk machinery is used.
If an employer fails to implement the required health and safety measures, they are breaching their duty of care towards you. If you suffer an injury because of their negligence, they might be found liable to pay you machinery accident compensation.
Nonetheless, you might be worried about the repercussions your claim might have on your job. You should know that the UK has unfair dismissal laws in place that make it illegal for an employer to treat you differently after making a claim.
If they try to sack you or mistreat you hoping that you will quit your job, you may have a case of unfair or constructive dismissal. They have a duty of care towards you, and you should be able to claim compensation without worrying about your employer-employee relationship.
In any case, it will be their insurance company paying you the compensation award. All employers must have Employer’s Liability insurance which covers all legal fees in a personal injury claim, so your employer will not pay your compensation award out of their pocket.
If you want to make a machinery accident claim following an accident at work, a solicitor can give you all the information you need and assist you through the claim.
What are the main causes of machinery accidents?
Workplace accidents involving machinery are a common cause of personal injury claims. Machinery safety and proper equipment maintenance should be of primary concern to all employers.
Under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 and 2011, all machinery purchased and installed in a workplace should:
- Have a UKCA mark that guarantees it complies with the relevant health and safety regulation
- Include instructions written in English
- Have a declaration of conformity from the manufacturer, stating it is fit for the intended purpose
Before starting to use any machine at the workplace, employers should:
- Check that it is well designed, free from defects and suitable for the work.
- Ensure that static machinery is fittingly installed and stable.
- Develop a safe system for using and maintaining the machine.
- Ensure it has proper guards to prevent access to dangerous parts.
- Ensure control switches are marked and show what they do.
- Make sure to have emergency stop controls where necessary.
- Provide adequate training and equipment to those using the machinery.
The main items that can cause a faulty machinery accident and need to be regularly verified include:
- Machine guards and covers
- Stop controls
- Electrical equipment
- Steps and scaffolding
- Protective equipment
- Hand and power tools
- Safety ropes and harnesses
There could be many causes leading to machinery accidents, such as:
- Faulty or unsafe work equipment: missing or defective safety guards or faulty electrical equipment can lead to severe injuries that could have been prevented. Faults and failures due to poor maintenance may lead to severe injuries.
- Falls from height could occur due to defective stairs, ladders, scaffolding or handrails and might cause you to get in contact with dangerous machinery.
- Lack of proper protection. Failure or incorrect use of personal protective equipment (PPE) may significantly increase the risk of machinery accidents. Injuries can range from burns and scalds to severe cuts or loss of hearing.
- Poor training or supervision. Lack of proper training and guidance explaining how to use and operate the machinery may lead to avoidable accidents.
- Improper use of machinery. Not following the guidance on how to operate a machine can lead to injuries, even with wearing protective equipment.
- Machine failure. In the UK, all electrical equipment at the workplace must be PAT tested periodically to make sure that it is safe to use.
- Untidy work environment: working in a poorly maintained environment can cause slips, trips and falls near dangerous machinery, leading to accidents.
Regardless of the cause of your accident, if somebody else was even partially responsible, you could make a machinery accident claim. If you feel you may have a valid compensation claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
How common are accidents involving machinery at work?
There are many rules and regulations regarding health and safety at the workplace, including guidelines to avoid injuries from machinery. Machinery safety and risk assessments are of primary importance, seeing as machinery accidents could lead to severe injuries and even death.
However, machine-related accidents in the UK still cause a high number of victims every year. According to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013), 15% of all fatal injuries between 2020 and 2021 were caused by coming into contact with moving machinery.
This makes machinery accidents the second most significant cause of fatal accidents at work, together with being struck by a moving or falling object (15%) and right behind falls from a height (16%).
Between 2018/19-2020/21, 57,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries at work each year; 12% of all injuries were caused by contact with moving machinery. That makes it the fourth highest cause of accidents at the workplace, after slips, trips and falls, manual handling accidents and being struck by an object or moving vehicle.
Unfortunately, working with machinery is inherently dangerous. Even if the equipment is relatively safe, incorrect use or poor maintenance can lead to severe or fatal accidents.
Regardless of the machinery used at the workplace, employers must take all necessary and reasonable measures to keep employees safe from harm. Machine-related injuries can often impact a person’s life forever, affecting their ability to work or even carry out usual daily activities.
If you suffered a machinery accident due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to make a machine accident claim. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible for compensation and answer any questions you may have.
What are the most common injuries caused by machinery accidents?
Moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways:
- Entrapment: moving parts like conveyor belts or pulleys can pull in items of clothing or body parts, causing the person to get stuck between moving or rotating parts.
- Impact accidents: being struck by the moving parts of a machine or falling from machinery can lead to severe injuries.
- Contact: sharp edges can cause cuts, lacerations and even amputation injuries. Other sharp parts can cause stabbing or puncture wounds, while rough or hot surfaces can cause abrasions and burns.
- Entanglement: rotating and moving parts of a machine can create pinch points. If clothing, jewellery or hair gets entangled in a pinch point, this can crush, lacerate or even amputate body parts.
- Ejection: items ejected from machinery, like log splitters, waste items or components, can cause injuries if proper protective equipment is not used.
- Non-mechanical hazards associated with machinery can include harmful emissions, vibrations, chemicals, electricity and noise and may cause severe injuries like hearing loss, cancer and other long-term health effects.
Employers should always carry out risk assessments and remove the hazard or implement reasonable methods to reduce the risks. When failing to do so, machinery can cause a wide range of minor to life-threatening injuries you could claim compensation for, such as:
- Cuts and lacerations from coming into contact with sharp parts or impact accidents
- Bruising, fractures or crushed body parts due to getting struck by a machine or caught in a moving part
- Electrical burns, shock or electrocution caused by faulty or improperly maintained electrical equipment
- Burns, scalds and abrasions from contact with hot or rough surfaces or harmful emissions like chemicals and hot vapours
- Eye and face injuries from getting struck by ejected material or moving parts
- Hearing loss: using hammers, lawnmowers, or other machinery that make loud noises can temporarily or permanently damage your hearing
- Back and neck injuries caused by impact accidents can range from minor bruising and soft tissue injuries to severe fractures and nerve damage that could cause permanent mobility issues.
- Head and brain injuries may be caused by falls from height or being struck by the moving parts of a machine. From mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries, a head injury can cause lifelong physical or mental disability.
- Spinal cord injuries: nerve damage to the spinal cord can permanently affect mobility and control of the bladder or bowel movements. Severe spine injuries could result in permanent paralyses like tetraplegia or paraplegia.
- Internal organ damage may be caused by a fall or ejection accident or by exposure to dust, radiation or toxic fumes and chemicals.
- Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) describe damage to the musculoskeletal or nervous system that develops during long periods due to machinery vibrations, repetitive movements or spending a lot of time in the same position while operating a machine.
- Amputation injuries: crushes, severing due to machinery, and even electric shocks can cause damage so severe that the affected body part cannot be saved.
Unfortunately, some machine-related injuries can be fatal. Employers must implement all necessary measures to reduce and control the risk of a machinery accident.
If you or a loved one suffered any kind of injury due to negligence, you might be entitled to make a machinery accident claim and receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
How much compensation can I claim for an injury caused by dangerous machinery?
While some machinery accidents result in relatively minor injuries, they can also cause severe trauma resulting in amputations, paralysis and even death.
If you suffered an injury due to negligence or a faulty machinery accident, you might want to claim compensation for all that you and your loved ones endured.
The compensation award you might receive will match the extent of your injuries and any losses you incurred due to the accident. In any personal injury case, you can claim for:
Special damages for any financial losses and expenses such as:
- medical expenses, including medication, private treatments and surgery
- physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- adaptations to your home or vehicle
- costs of psychological support
- mobility or hearing aids
- lost earnings, including future wages
- loss of earning capacity
- transportation costs
- costs of professional care
- any other financial expenses incurred because of your injury
General damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity:
- physical pain and suffering
- mental anguish and psychological distress
- loss of companionship
- loss of consortium
- inability to pursue a hobby
- loss of a unique career
- decreased quality of life
- physical and mental impairment
- scarring and disfigurement
Solicitors and judges use formal judicial guidelines published by the Judicial College to calculate a suitable compensation award for general damages. Depending on the extent of your injury, you could get:
- £1,880 to £10,890 for a minor head injury with recovery within a few weeks
- £240,590 to £344,640 for severe head injuries leading to severe disability and a vegetative state with the need for full-time nursing
- £56,080 to £229,260 for an eye injury leading to complete blindness or severe visual impairment in one or both eyes
- £12,700 to £25,350 for partial loss of hearing or moderate to severe tinnitus
- £77,430 to £120,040 for complete deafness in both ears
- £7,410 to £47,760 for a moderate neck injury causing cervical spondylosis, limitation of movement and chronic pain
- £36,390 to £151,070 for a severe back injury with damage to the spinal cord and partial paralysis, impaired movement and loss of bowel or bladder control
- £6,680 to £19,390 for severe scarring of the upper body not involving the face
- £82,040 to £255,930 for a severe arm injury with amputation of one or both arms
- Up to £4,050 for a minor hand injury with complete recovery within six months
- £10,380 to £31,350 for severe finger injuries with complete amputation of one or more fingers
- £46,780 to £240,590 for severe leg injuries resulting in permanently reduce mobility or amputation of one or both legs
- Up to £11,730 for minor foot injuries like ruptured ligaments or minor fractures with complete recovery within two years
Your solicitor can give you a better estimate of your compensation prospects based on the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injury. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or fill in our online claim form to receive a call back.
Can I still make a machinery accident claim if I was partly at fault?
If you suffer trauma in a machinery accident as an employee, you might feel partially or entirely responsible for your injury.
You may believe your training and experience were enough to prevent an accident, and you might feel awkward claiming compensation, especially if you suffered minor injuries.
Nonetheless, that is not the case in most situations. Even a minor injury can cause a lot of pain, distress and financial expenses, so you should always consult with a solicitor before giving up your compensation rights.
Usually, the employer of a worker is liable for a machinery accident, seeing as they are commonly caused by:
- lack of proper training
- poorly maintained working area
- faulty or unsafe machinery
- lack of personal protective equipment
In any case, even if you are partially to blame for your injury, you would still be able to make a machinery accident claim. Your employer might argue that you used a machine or the PPE incorrectly or recklessly ignored a hazard sign.
If a judge finds you partially to blame for the accident, that is referred to as contributory negligence. Your compensation award will be reduced by a percentage proportionate to the amount of responsibility you had for suffering an injury.
What evidence will I need to support my claim?
If you suffered a machinery injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might want to make a machine accident claim.
Regardless of whether the defendant accepts liability or not, you should always have relevant evidence to support your claim. They might initially accept responsibility and then change their mind, and you might end up in court.
As soon as possible, you should gather proof of your injuries and any related losses, such as:
- Medical records attesting to the extent of your injuries, the treatments you received and recovery prospects.
- Contact details of any witnesses that saw the circumstances of your accident. If you go to court, they might be called to give a statement.
- Contact and insurance details of the party you hold liable for your accident.
- A copy of the accident report book. By law, employers must keep an accident logbook to ensure that all work-related injuries and accidents get recorded.
- Photographs of the accident scene and your injuries.
- Any CCTV footage that might have recorded the accident taking place.
- Make a note of what happened, including the date, time and type of machinery involved.
- Proof of any out of pocket expenses you incurred because of your injury, such as travel costs, medication, physiotherapy, costs of care, lost wages.
Even if you think you have little to no evidence to support your claim, your solicitor will assist in collecting everything you need to secure the compensation you deserve.
They will also arrange for a free private visit with a licensed physician to determine the full extent of your injuries and how they could affect your life long-term. A complete medical examination is essential to calculate a suitable compensation award in personal injury claims.
How much will it cost to make a machinery accident claim?
When you contact a legal adviser for a personal injury claim, they will give you a free consultation to ask about the circumstances of your accident, the injuries you suffered and any related losses you incurred.
If they think another party is even partially to blame and you have a fair chance of success, they will offer you their services on a no win no fee basis.
A no win no fee claim means you do not have to worry about any upfront legal or solicitor fees, and there are no hidden charges.
The After the Event insurance policy your solicitor will take out before starting the legal proceedings offers complete coverage for all legal costs even if you end up losing your claim.
In a no win no fee claim, you only pay a success fee if you win the case. The success fee depends on the amount of time and effort your solicitor invested in the case and cannot exceed 25% of the compensation award.
If you feel you may have a valid machinery accident claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will let you know if you qualify for a no win no fee claim and answer any of your questions.