Faulty Equipment in the Workplace
Faulty Equipment in the Workplace gives rise to thousands of personal injury claims leading to serious physical and emotional harm to injured workers.
When you go to work, it’s reasonable for you to expect your employer has taken all the necessary measures to ensure that you can undertake your job safely. After all your employer has a legal obligation to do so.
Unfortunately, accidents still happen when it comes to dealing with defective equipment or machinery which represent a risk of serious injury.
While employers are under a duty to ensure that their employees are working in a safe environment accidents can occur as a direct consequence of faulty work equipment.
This article sets out to provide an understanding of faulty work equipment compensation claims in England and Wales covering employees legal rights and the claims process.
Faulty Work Equipment and the Legal Rights of Employees
- The law imposes a duty upon your employer to provide machinery and equipment which is safe, suitable and in a good working condition.
- Included within the legal duty is the requirement to make sure the equipment is regularly maintained and inspected.
- Even if the correct equipment is hired your employer has a duty to make sure you are safe.
- If you have suffered an injury as a consequence of faulty equipment then you have the the legal right to make a compensation claim against your employer.
The Importance of Risk Assessments
Health and safety at work is based upon the fundamental principle that identifying potential hazards and risks in the working environment can help reduce the likelihood of accidents at work occurring.
Employers are under a duty to carry out risk assessments to identify potential dangers that exist in the workplace and assess the extent of the risk that these represent to employees.
The risks identified can be far reaching and include anything from hazardous machinery, tools and equipment to dangerous chemicals, slip hazards or fire risks. The onus is on the employer to identify the risks and to guard against them materialising.
Overall conducting regular risk assessments are of primary importance when looking to create a safe and productive working environment where risks of accidents are kept to a minimum to protect employees.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FAULTY WORK EQUIPMENT CLAIMS?
Claims involving faulty work equipment can be caused by a variety of different incidents such as accidents arising from defective electrical appliances, power tools and work vehicles.
Defective equipment claims can arise as a consequence of various circumstances which we discuss below:
Defective Machinery, Parts or Power Tools
It’s easy to see how injuries can occur if a particular machinery part, tool or piece of mobile equipment is not functioning correctly.
The circumstances may well lead to to a defective equipment accident and in breach of health and safety and work equipment regulations.
Failure to Maintain Equipment
Manufacturers will specify that their equipment needs to be maintained at regular intervals.
It is crucial the employer ensure equipment maintenance procedures are carried out at the right time and correctly to ensure unsafe equipment does not give rise to an accident at work.
Equipment regulations have been drafted widely so they include any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or insulation for use at work and this means it covers almost any equipment which is used in the workplace.
- Of course equipment that is not regularly serviced or maintained is more likely to break down and as a result lead to accidents or injuries.
- Your employer has a clear responsibility to make sure that the equipment that they use in the working environment is regularly maintained and serviced before there is any safety issue.
- Failure to adhere to the maintenance regimes laid down by the manufacturer is on the face of it going to be very helpful evidence to support any defective work equipment claim resulting in injury.
- In practice your solicitor should request all maintenance and inspection records for any faulty machinery.
- It will be necessary to closely examine these records to see whether they point to any failure to service the machinery in line with the manufacturers guidelines.
Experienced personal injury solicitors should have no difficulty in assessing the various disclosable records including risk assessment documents in order to establish whether there is a valid faulty equipment injury claim.
The Importance of Training or Supervision
There is a legal duty which exists to ensure employers train and supervise their staff so that they are able to operate work equipment in a safe and controlled manner.
All workers need to be properly trained on how to use the machinery safely and effectively thereby diminishing the risks of any accidents and injuries.
If there is a clear failure on behalf of the employer to carry out and implement proper training or supervision of the workforce and as a consequence an injury occurs then this will give rise to a successful claim for personal injury against the employer.
Inadequate Safety Measures
- Safety policy in the workplace is of paramount importance and the rules and regulations all underpinned the notion that the employer must provide a safe and healthy working environment.
- This duty extends to making sure there are adequate health and safety measures in place when working with work equipment or machinery.
- This involves employers making sure that the equipment is fitted with proper safety features such as emergency stops, warning labels and safety guards.
- The personal protective equipment at work regulations also require employers to ensure employees who are exposed to hazards need to be supplied with the correct personal protective equipment.
- Failure to provide appropriate personal protective equipment in itself could give rise to a personal injury claim if injury occurs as a consequence of the employee not having the right equipment to operate machinery.
- It is also worth noting employers should ensure that work equipment is ergonomically designed and properly positioned with a view to reducing the risk of injury caused by poor ergonomics.
If the employer fails to implement all reasonable and necessary safety measures they are likely to be held liable for any injuries that arise out of this failure resulting in a successful claim.
Improper use of Equipment
There are occasions when workers use equipment or machinery in a way that is not intended, designed or recommended by the manufacturer.
In the circumstances it may be difficult for the employee to succeed with their claim unless it can be shown that the employer had encouraged or condoned such use in breach of health and safety laws.
This will be down to a matter of evidence and usually it will be necessary to obtain witness evidence from colleagues confirming that the equipment had been used in this non-intended way on a regular basis and it was widespread practice which was known about or explicitly or implicitly authorised by the employer.
Liability and Defective Equipment Claims
If your accident at work has been caused by faulty equipment and the defendant’s insurer disputes liability then it will be necessary for the your solicitor to consider the evidence and decide whether it will be necessary to instruct an engineer to inspect the defective machinery.
The engineer will scene of the accident at work and conduct a detailed examination of the machinery consider the design, installation and the maintenance history of the machinery which is the subject of the claim.
The engineer would bring together as much evidence as possible and will usually take photographs, videos and measurements to document the findings of the investigation.
In the end the engineer will arrive at a conclusion in relation to what caused the accident and if the equipment was indeed defective or had not been properly maintained and therefore was caused by a negligent employer.
MAKING A FAULTY WORK EQUIPMENT COMPENSATION CLAIM
If you would like to make a faulty equipment claim then it is necessary to follow certain steps in order to give you the best chance of success.
Step 1: Medical Treatment
You should seek medical assistance right away. Your safety and well-being is clearly the most important priority and it is crucial for you to seek medical attention by being examined by a medical professional even if it seems your injury is minor.
This approach will not only ensure that you receive the proper treatment but it will also document the nature and extent of your injuries and this can be used in evidence further down the line as necessary.
Step 2: Reporting to Your Employer
Once you have received any necessary medical treatment your attention can then turn to reporting the accident to your employer using whatever protocol that is in place.
As far as possible you should ensure that the details of the accident are entirely accurate and that corrections are made if for any reason the record is not under no circumstances should you sign the accident book if you believe the entry is in any way incorrect.
We have situations all the time where injured clients have signed the accident book without reading the account carefully and this has had a direct impact upon their ability to recover compensation.
If the matter is not reported for any reason then the employer will no doubt immediately question why and from past experience this will undermine the veracity of the claim and raise unnecessary questions which could impact on the ability to claim compensation.
In some instances where the injured employee has not reported matters employers have gone on to allege the accident never occurred on their premises and must have been sustained elsewhere.
As can be seen, there are all sorts of complications that can arise if the accident book is not properly completed. The importance of making sure the incident is formally recorded cannot be understated.
Step 3: Gathering Evidence for a Successful Compensation Claim
To make a successful faulty work equipment compensation claim it’s necessary to obtain evidence that the equipment or machinery was indeed faulty and that the fault was the cause of your injury.
- In practice this might be easy to prove if the machine has clearly malfunctioned and engineers have been brought into inspect and repair the machine. All the post accident inspection and repair records will be disclosable and should hopefully support the claim.
- Even if you are confident about proving that the machine or equipment was faulty you should consider taking photographs or video footage of the faulty equipment. It is also a good idea to take down details of any witnesses who are in a position to confirm what exactly happened.
- It’s also worth finding out if any colleagues of had similar difficulties with the machine or had made complaints to the employer about any fault or defect.
- The more information you can gather the better so remember to keep an ongoing record of all your medical bills and any other expenses you have incurred arising out of the accident.
- It is surprising how quickly things can add up and by recording items as you go along you give yourself the best chance of being able to submit and recover all the expenditure involved.
- Equally it’s also important to make sure that any correspondence with your employer is retained so that it can be produced to your solicitor as necessary.
Step 4: Seeking Legal Advice
In a claim involving faulty equipment there is no substitute for contacting a specialist personal injury lawyer. Your solicitor will be in a position to protect your interests and put your claim on the best possible footing.
- Faulty equipment claims can be complicated and the sooner you can engage the help of a No Win No Fee accident at work lawyer the better.
- Please don’t forget the initial advice that is given to you might make the difference between whether your claim succeeds or not so there is no doubt that seeking assistance at the beginning of the process is the smart move.
- First of all your personal injury lawyer will be able to assess the merits of your claim and provide an indication at least as to whether the workplace equipment claim is likely to succeed.
- They will also be able to guide you through the process explaining your legal rights and obligations and setting out what you might expect.
- They should be able to answer all of your workplace equipment questions and allay any fears you may have.
Step 5: Negotiating a Settlement
Working on the basis that your claim is accepted by the employers insurance company and there is no dispute in relation to your defective equipment injury claim then once all the medical evidence has been gathered together your accident solicitor will be in a position to look at negotiating a settlement for you.
Needless to say it’s extremely important to have legal representation during the negotiation process to ensure that you are in a position to recover the right amount of compensation reflecting the injuries you sustained and any ongoing losses.
Your solicitor will be able to carefully assess the value of your claim and advise you of the merits of any offers made by the employer’s insurer.
As always it is important that you do not finalise your claim prematurely and risk under settling the compensation.
In practice this means that you need to be confident you have made a full and complete recovery or that the medical evidence substantiates any ongoing symptoms so you receive compensation for this.
The amount of compensation an employee can receive for a faulty equipment injury claim depends on the severity of your injuries and the impact they have on your life. Compensation can cover medical expenses, lost income, rehabilitation costs, and other expenses incurred due to the injury.
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on a number of factors.
- Severity of your injuries is one of the most influential factors in determining the level of compensation you might be entitled to. Of course in general terms the more severe your injuries and the longer that they affect your quality of life the higher the compensation you can expect to receive.
- It is also worth mentioning that liability is another important factor in terms of influencing the level of compensation that you might be able to recover.
- If you are able to prove that your employer was 100% to blame for the accident then you will recover the full amount for any injuries and consequential losses. However if for any reason you were considered to be in some way to blame then your compensation will be reduced according to the level of contributory negligence.
Your solicitor will be in a position to advise the extent to which you are vulnerable to arguments from the defendant’s insurer alleging that you were in some way to blame.
Future Medical Treatment Costs?
When dealing with more serious injuries there may well be significant future anticipated treatment costs which need to be catered for in any final settlement future.
It is clearly important that your solicitor obtains the necessary medical expert reports which comment about the possibility of any anticipated future costs so that these can be included within the claim.
Preventing Faulty Work Equipment Claims:
To prevent defective work equipment claims, employers should conduct a regular risk assessment, provide adequate training to employees, and ensure that all equipment is maintained and inspected regularly.
Employers should also encourage employees to report any unsafe equipment promptly.
Communication is very important in the working environment as a lack of communication can contribute or cause personal injury claims at work.
Employees need to be aware of the risks arising out of using particular equipment and there needs to be in place a culture of reporting any faulty equipment in the workplace so that these issues can be dealt with straightaway.
- Faulty work equipment claims can have a significant impact on employees’ lives, and employers must take responsibility for ensuring that their employees work in a safe environment.
- If an employee suffers an injury due to faulty equipment and a negligent employer, they have the legal right to make a compensation claim.
- By following the proper procedures and working with a personal injury solicitor, employees can receive compensation for their injuries and ensure that their employers take the necessary steps to prevent future accidents.
- If you would like to seek compensation for a workplace accident and bring a faulty equipment injury claim we would be delighted to hear from you.
- We are ready to help you on a no win no fee basis seek compensation for your faulty work equipment injuries where health and safety regulations have been breached.
- There will be no financial risk if you allow us to help you with your faulty equipment injury claim. Accidents happen all the time but if health and safety has been breached then the accident at work becomes actionable and then it’s a question of how much compensation your faulty equipment injury claim is worth.
Contact us now to seek legal advice and we will be able to help you with your faulty equipment injury claim 🙂
Carter & Carter Solicitors
Hear a few words from one of our happy clients
“Mr Dixon suffered injuries when he was travelling in his friend's car which lost control at a roundabout. He said to us: "Very pleased with the prompt service I received and general advice."
Mr Rakeem Dixon from Essex