Accidents caused by work machinery are common
Work machinery injuries typically range from cuts and fractures to severe crush injuries, especially of the hands.
All employers are required by law to protect their workers from the dangerous parts of machines. Even relatively safe machinery should be regularly serviced to ensure that it remains safe to use and to operate.
Anyone who has been injured by machinery at work may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. The amount of compensation will depend on a number of factors, including the type and severity of your injury.
Is the employer responsible for my work injury?
The risks associated with workplace machinery are recognized in legislation. Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, employers have a legal duty to:
- Ensure that all work machinery is safe to use
- Maintain machinery in good condition
- Prioritise completion of essential repairs
- Train staff to use machinery safely and correctly
- Fit guards or other safety mechanisms to prevent workers from coming into contact with dangerous or moving parts
- Provide suitable protective clothing to staff operating machinery
If these and other standards are not met, then your employer is in breach of its duty of care. Your employer may be found to be negligent and therefore liable to pay compensation for your injuries.
The HSE make wide-ranging recommendations to ensure the safety of staff using dangerous equipment. Whether the equipment in question is a forklift truck, digger, circular saw, conveyor belt or pneumatic stamping press, the HSE requires employers and operators to consider many safety factors. In addition to the above, the HSE state that:
- Programmable electronic systems should be maintained and operated only by qualified persons,
- The purpose of control switches are clearly marked,
- Two-handed controls should be used where appropriate and guards and shrouds should be used to protect critical buttons and switches from accidental use,
- Emergency stop buttons should be clearly visible and easy to operate
What to do if you have been injured at work
See a medical expert
If you have been given first aid treatment by your work's first aider, or by an on-site nurse, you should still make an appointment to see your GP.
Seeing a medical expert will help to ensure your injuries do not become worse or develop into chronic conditions. You will also have accurate medical records to support an injury claim if you decide to make one at a later date.
Gather evidence the accident
To make a successful claim for an accident involving work machinery, you will need to prove how the accident was caused. You should keep any letters, paperwork, emails and reports you receive.
Keeping a detailed file on the accident and your injuries can make an injury claim much easier.
Reporting a work machinery accident
Your employer should have a procedure in place to record any accident in the workplace, usually in an accident book. When you report the accident, you should give as much information as you can about what happened, and about any injuries you have suffered.
Can I make a work machinery accident claim?If you were injured in an accident involving work machinery in the last three years, you could be eligible to claim compensation.
This could include work machinery accidents where:
- Bladed tools or equipment were missing safety guards
- Crush injuries were caused by missing safety guards
- Forklifts or other heavy plant were operated or driven by untrained staff
- Poor signage or poor instruction caused a tool to be used incorrectly
- Badly maintained equipment broke or malfunctioned
- Consumables like sanding discs or saw blades were not regularly replaced
Financial help if I can't work
Owing to the serious nature of many workplace accidents involving heavy machinery, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) may be due, in addition to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
You may also be able to claim injury compensation. Your compensation will cover the expenses you have incurred due to your injuries, and will also include lost earnings.
How will my employment status affect my right to claim?
The claims process for full-time workers is generally simpler than for self-employed contracts or agency workers, but you should still be able to claim compensation.
Read more about claiming if you are:
How much can I claim for a work machinery accident?
The compensation you can claim for an injury or illness at work is worked out in two parts:
- General damages - based on the seriousness and type of your injuries, and
- Special damages - based on your financial losses, like lost wages and treatment costs
The Work Accident Advice Centre online calculator sets out what you can claim for, and how much compensation you could claim.
No win, no fee work machinery claims
Legal aid is not available when claiming compensation from an employer.
However, you can claim compensation on a "No Win, No Fee" basis. This means that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful. If your solicitor does win your claim, only then will they receive a success fee.
"No win, no fee" enables you to make a compensation claim with confidence, knowing there would be no legal fees to pay if the claim is not successful. Your solicitor can explain this to you in more detail at the start of the process.
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice
- Explain how No Win, No Fee works
- Recommend the right solicitor