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Home > News > Accident compensation for machine operator's hand injury

11th January 2010

Accident compensation for machine operator's hand injury

We were asked for our specialist accident at work claim advice by this client when he injured his hand in a work accident involving the machine on which he had been working for only a short time.

The defendant admitted liability for our client’s accident at work and his subsequent injuries, which had left him with some disability and scarring. Following extensive negotiation, our specialist accident compensation lawyer was able to secure substantial compensation for his client, which included for future reduced earnings due to his being unable to return to this type of work.

Lack of training in using the machine

Our client had been shown how to use the machine, and in particular how to change materials used in the processing of the product, by other operators of similar machines. He was not provided with any formal training by his employer, nor did he undergo any checks by them to confirm his competence to operate the machine unsupervised.

Accident at work

On the day of the accident at work, our client had completed one particular job and had to change materials before he could begin the next. It was necessary to raise and then lower rollers to do this and it was known that although the roller was automatically lowered, it had to be manually lowered the final quarter of an inch.

Our client had completed this procedure but the machine did not operate properly and he believed it was due to the roller not having lowered sufficiently. He therefore attempted to carry out the process again but as he reached out his hand to do so, a component of the machine became detached and the metal roller dropped down, trapping his hand between the teeth of a cog and another part of the machine.

As our client was working alone at the time, he had to try to free his hand by himself and with great difficulty managed to do this, suffering significant tearing to his hand as he did so.

Our client was taken to hospital where he spent several days and underwent an operation to repair the tendon and nerve damage he had suffered.

Breach of regulations

Following his accident at work, our client discovered that the failure of the rollers to locate correctly was due to a failure in the sensors rather than the fact that he had not lowered them correctly himself. It was also revealed that a similar problem had occurred only days before the accident, which had been reported to maintenance. Other machines operated by the defendant had been modified to ensure this type of accident did not occur.

No risk assessment had been carried out which would have identified the potential failure. However, evidence showed that following previous incidents and reports from employees, the defendant was clearly aware of the potential risk of injury but had failed to provide a robust process of inspection and maintenance. They had therefore failed to provide sufficient training or correctly maintained equipment, breaching The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

They had also failed to provide our client with a safe place of work, breaching The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Making an accident compensation claim

Clear Answers' solicitors will be happy to provide you with expert legal advice, and our specialist accident compensation lawyers will talk you through the claims process in plain English. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your accident compensation claim.

If you or a family member has been injured in these circumstances, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, if you prefer to complete one of our online compensation claim forms, one of our representatives will contact you as quickly as possible.

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