Claims for Manual Handling Accidents in a Factory

I was told by my employer that claims for manual handling accidents in a factory are not possible because lifting is detailed in my job description and I should have been aware that there was a risk of injury associated with the job. Is this correct?

The fact that your job description states that you are required to perform manual handling duties at work will not prevent you from making claims for manual handling accidents in a factory. If you sustained an injury performing lifting duties at work that could have been prevented by your employer – and should have been under the circumstances – you will be entitled to claim manual handling accident compensation.

The introduction of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations in 1992 has helped to reduce manual handling injuries in the workplace, although according to the Health and Safety Executive almost a third of reported workplace injuries are caused by manual handling accidents. Many of these accidents could have been prevented by employers had government health and safety legislation been followed.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers to ensure that the risk to workers is kept to the minimum practical level. When an employee is required to lift, lower or manipulate loads at work, an employer has a duty to ensure that the work can be completed safely. Risk assessments must be conducted to determine it is safe for loads to be handled, and steps should be taken to reduce the strain on employees as far as is practicable.

Lifting equipment should be supplied as appropriate and if it is not possible for an employee to lift and carry objects safely; sufficient members of the staff should be allocated to the task to keep the risk of injury at the minimum level. An employer must also provide training on basic lifting techniques to ensure that employees can perform manual handling duties safely, and full consideration should be given to the physical capabilities of individual workers before lifting duties are assigned.

If an employer is found to have breached HSE health and safety guidelines or has not ensured that the Manual Handling Operations Regulations are followed and a member of staff is injured as a direct result, a claim for compensation for a manual handling accident in a factory should be possible.

Although government legislation and HSE guidelines clearly detail the responsibilities of employers to ensure the health and safety of workers, an employer must interpret and apply these guidelines to the workplace. Reducing risk to the staff as much as is ‘reasonably practicable’ is subject to interpretation by an employer. For this reason claims for manual handling accidents in a factory have potential to be complicated.

To find out if you are entitled to claim compensation for a manual handling accident in a factory you should speak with a personal injury solicitor about your case. A solicitor is in the best position to tell you if a claim for manual handling accident compensation can be made against your employer’s liability insurance policy. Since your employer believes you are not entitled to make a factory accident claim, it is probable that liability for your injury will be contested. This does not mean that you will not be able to recover compensation, only that the assistance of a personal injury solicitor will be required to ensure your factory accident claim has a good probability of being successfully resolved.


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