The hazards associated with working in a factory environment are widely reported. Because of the high risk of injury to employees operating, servicing, cleaning or working near machinery, it is crucial for employers to conduct a thorough risk assessment so that potential hazards can be identified and adequate procedures put in place to manage them.
If an employer fails to conduct a risk assessment, or does not act on the findings of a risk assessment, the consequences can be very serious. This is just what happened in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Moughton Engineering employed 17 year old Jack Amey as an apprentice welder. But their failings resulted in him carrying out a task involving the use of a toxic cleaning chemical and he ended up with severe chemical burns to his face and one of his eyes. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered that despite the employer knowing the risks associated with the cleaning paste, and having previously banned its use, they had failed to remove it from the premises or adequately inform all members of staff of the ban which led to one of them giving it to the teenager to use.
The burns suffered by Mr Amey were serious but did not leave lasting scarring. He would still be within his rights, however, to make a claim against his employer for compensation for the pain and suffering endured and any loss of earnings whilst he was recovering.
Failing to adequately manage safety procedures landed another company a fine of over £60,000 when one of its employees was crushed to death in a baling machine.
Worker crushed to death due to employer negligence
West Yorkshire textile company Westwood Yarns was investigated by the HSE after 40 year old worker Gary Lee suffered fatal injuries when the baling machine he was cleaning re-started. The HSE found that he’d received no formal training and said the accident was ‘an entirely preventable tragedy.’
Serious and fatal accidents in the workplace can so often be prevented. Employees who are injured at work, whether their injuries are minor or life changing, are entitled to claim compensation if their employer is deemed responsible. And the families of workers who lose their lives due to employer negligence are also within their rights to make a claim. Whilst a compensation award won’t bring a loved one back, it will at least ensure the family is financially secure.
The specialist work accident solicitors at Stephensons have represented injured employees and their families in a variety of injury claim cases, and very successfully. It is important to ensure the maximum level of compensation possible is awarded so that loss of earnings and any long term treatment or care needs are adequately covered. Our friendly experts are on hand to discuss your case and you can call us in complete confidence on 01616 966 229.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney