Seeking compensation in industrial injury claimsAugust 7, 2011
An engineering firm in Stourbridge has been fined by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) after a worker’s hand was crushed during a lifting operation, resulting in his thumb being amputated. The 55 year old worker was using a rope sling attached to a crane to lift a steel plate when the sling snapped and the plate fell, crushing the thumb on his right hand. He now has trouble with everyday activities such as holding a pen or cutlery and getting dressed. He has returned to work but has difficulty completing tasks.
A HSE representative said, “This was a preventable incident that has left a man permanently disabled. It highlights the importance of properly managing health and safety in general, and in particular ensuring the risks from lifting heavy items are understood.” No risk assessments were carried out by the firm and the system of work was found to be unsafe.
The HSE investigation stands separate to any industrial injury claim that the worker chooses to make. He will have a good case because of the level of negligence on the part of his employer and the extent of his injury.
Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 outlines that “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.” This means that employers have a legal responsibility to take steps to protect workers from injuries and illness. Steps can include thorough risk assessment, providing protective equipment and monitoring systems of work.
Unfortunately, one food production company failed to take these steps, even after a worker was seriously injured. Just three months after a serious accident, another worker at the same factory was seriously injured.
The first incident involved a 32 year old worker whose left arm became trapped in the rotating knives of a meat tenderiser. It was so badly injured that it had to be amputated. Just a few months later, another worker had the ends of two fingers severed while feeding plastic film into a machine.
A HSE investigation found that both accidents could have been prevented. The guards on both the machines where the workers were injured were found to be inadequate. A proper risk assessment could have identified this as dangerous to workers and the necessary preventative measures could have been taken.
Industrial injury claims are a way of compensating for injuries caused by the negligence of employers. A compensation payment can help with the costs of rehabilitation, such as home adaptations. It can also help maintain a level of financial stability at a time when lost earnings can be a big worry. An industrial injury can have devastating consequences. Some workers may never be able to work again, or may have trouble returning to the sort of work they did before the accident.
Macks Solicitors have many years of experience in industrial injury claims and are experts in the field. Contact us now to discuss your case with an expert, without obligation.