According to recent reports, a recycling company had to pay a fine after an 18-year-old employee suffered injuries at work whilst clearing a blockage in a waste metal chute. The court found that the company were guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They had to pay fines of £17,500.
The employee suffered injuries at work when he fell through a chute that was approximately four meters above a concrete yard. The accident occurred when the employee was clearing a blockage. Another employee, who was waiting in a telescopic handler to collect the waste metal in the machine bucket, saw him fall and moved the machine to try and catch him. The employee was hit by the bucket and sustained injuries including several broken bones.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was no risk assessment or safe system of work in place for clearing blockages. The company had not considered the risk of employees falling through the chute from that height.
Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector said: “This significant injury to an 18-year-old employee in his first employment could have been easily prevented. The remedial action taken to prevent future blockages implemented after the incident had no cost implication for the company. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise risks from clearing blockages.”
Injuries at Work Caused by An Unsafe Working Environment
There are several responsibilities an employer must uphold to make the work environment injury free, including:
- Maintaining and using machinery in a proper manner, and upgrading defective machinery
- Ensuring you undertake proper training
- Proper installation of risk involvement procedures
- Conducting risk assessments and notifying employees of the results
- Providing adequate PPE and safety equipment
If the employer doesn’t provide the above, the workplace environment is deemed unsafe. As a consequence, the employer becomes negligent. Similarly, if any workplace is unsafe and an accident occurs, your employer may be liable for a workplace injury claim.
Your Employer’s Responsibility
Your employer is responsible for making sure you are safe at work. They must follow rules and regulations set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to keep you safe. They must also make sure they carry out risk assessments to make sure any work you do is safe. This is the same for any machinery you use at work.
If the recycling company had carried out a risk assessment of the equipment and the work that their 18-year-old employee was doing, then he may not have had an accident. Similarly, if you have an accident at work and your employer did not adequately risk assess the work, and you have an accident, then you may be able to make a claim.
How We Can Help
Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with personal injury claims. This includes injuries at work. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly experts.