Should I be eligible to make a claim for an injury from factory machinery if I have developed an upper limb disorder due to working on the same machine for long periods of time?
Your eligibility to make a claim for an injury from factory machinery is going to depend on whether your employer was negligent in protecting you from the risk of an upper limb disorder – the term favoured by the Health and Safety Executive to describe repetitive strain injuries which are not necessarily due to strain and rarely shown signs of an injury – and if you contributed to the extent of your injury by your own lack of care.
Your employer has a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to identify any workplace practices which may result in an upper limb disorder and take steps to eliminate the risk of an injury. In a factory environment, this would usually mean that your employer would mechanise higher risk tasks, introduce regular breaks and a rotation of duties for tasks which still had to be performed manually and monitor the health of employees still involved in repetitive manual actions to identify when an upper limb disorder is developing.
Other factors which could cause upper limb disorders should also be considered – such as the temperature in the factory in which employees are required to work and that machinery is kept in good working order to reduce friction whenever possible. It should also be taken into account that individual employees are of different height, may have varying reach or strength and will have a diverse range of ability. Should an employer not take all these factors into consideration when conducting a risk assessment, he would be negligent in his duty of care and liable in any claim for an injury from factory machinery.
Employees also have a duty of care to report any upper limb disorders that develop in the workplace to their employer in order that steps can be taken to rectify the position or environment in which they are working. If you were starting to develop the symptoms of an upper limb disorder – typically tenderness, aches and pain, stiffness, weakness, tingling, numbness, cramp, or swelling – and failed to report this to your employer, how much compensation for an injury from factory machinery you are entitled to may be reduced to reflect your own contribution to your injury.
When compiling a factory machinery injury claim on your behalf, a solicitor would request access to your relevant medical history to see what prognosis was made by your doctor, when it was made and whether you continued to work thereafter. If you have contributed to the extent of your injury by your own negligence, you will not be disqualified from making a claim for an injury from factory machinery as your employer has also has a duty of care to monitor and supervise you while you are at work, however, it will complicate a factory machine injury claim and possibly delay the receipt of compensation for an injury from factory machinery.
It would be advisable to discuss your injury with an experienced factory accidents claims solicitor to explain what practices your employer implemented to protect you from the risk of developing an upper limb disorder and whether or not you reported your injury or made a report in your employers “Accident Report Book”. The solicitor will then be able to assess whether you have a compensation claim for an injury from factory machinery which is worth your while to pursue and guide you through the procedures for making a claim thereafter.