While office work tends to be the type of work most of us consider when exploring the various locations we could work in, thousands of people in the UK head to factories to work each day. The UK manufacturing industry had around 2.7 million employees in 2016/17, and many of these worked in factories. Fortunately, accidents in a factory are very uncommon, although there are situations that could prove potentially dangerous if someone is hurt while working in this environment.
Factories usually have lots of equipment that is used in the creation of various products. This could include conveyor belts, labelling machines, platforms, and many other items as well. Work-related injuries in factories are kept at the minimum each year, but around 2% of workers end up with an injury that was somehow caused by the work they do in the manufacturing industry. It’s reassuring to know injuries have fallen in recent years, and especially since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was brought in. However, as we can see, there are still things that could potentially go wrong.
Examples of potential risk of accidents in a factory
Accidents in a factory could occur in many ways. However, there are some dangers that are perhaps potentially more likely to appear than others. Here are some examples:
- A lack of employee training
- Little or no maintenance of machinery used in the factory
- No risk assessment to identify and prevent risks from being present
- Faulty machinery
- Machinery with no emergency stop or safety cut-out features
- A lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
These are just a few of the things that could lead to accidents in a factory. Thankfully, most employers do take proper care and go above and beyond the duties required of them to keep their workplace – and their employees – safe from harm. This applies to preventing illnesses as well as injuries.
The importance of conducting risk assessments
We mentioned risk assessments above, and they are a good way of preventing accidents in a factory to begin with. It may be challenging for an employer to create a good risk assessment they can be confident in and that covers all the essential elements. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has created an example risk assessment that provides an excellent starting point when assessing the risks in a factory.
No two factories will present the same risks, yet by exploring the risks present in each job, each role, and each area of the factory, these risks can then be combated to ensure accidents in a factory are far less likely to occur.
Providing training to keep employees safe
If an employee does not know what they are doing, or is asked to operate machinery when they have had no training in doing so, they are immediately at greater risk of being injured. Not only should proper training be required for each worker, so they have the knowledge required to perform their jobs, refresher training should also be provided regularly.
A lack of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but fortunately, most of the factory workers in the UK do receive appropriate training to allow them to do their jobs without risk of injury or illness.
Making sure machinery is running smoothly
There can hardly be a factory around that does not use machinery to speed up the manufacturing process in one way or another. With thousands of products spilling out of factories across the UK every day, it does allow for the potential for accidents to occur if the machinery in use is not safe to use.
All machinery should have appropriate safety guards, so nothing can become caught in the mechanisms. Cut-off switches, emergency stop buttons, and regular checks to ensure these are working should all form part of a strong approach to health and safety. Regular maintenance is also crucial, as it means there is less chance of something going wrong that could potentially cause accidents in a factory to occur.
Issuing appropriate personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment can prevent many injuries that might otherwise take place. If the work performed in a factory could create sparks, for example, appropriate face and eye protection should be worn. Similarly, if there is a risk something could be dropped onto the feet, steel toe-capped boots would be appropriate, and should be issued by the employer. While many injuries are prevented through such measures, there were still 72,202 survivable injuries reported by employers in 2015/16. How many of these might have been prevented if health and safety measures had been even stronger?
Very few accidents in any workplace lead to one or more fatalities. However, in 2015/16, 144 workers lost their lives in the workplace. Of these, 37 resulted from a fall from height, while a further 35 were caused by another accident that did not fall into any of the traditional categories, such as accidents with machinery, or being struck by a vehicle or object.
By implementing a risk assessment, checking it over regularly, and ensuring all recommendations are met, accidents in factories and other workplaces should be reduced.
Making a claim after suffering an accident while doing factory work
Can you prove whether negligence was the reason for your accident? If so, then yes, you may be in a good position to make a compensation claim. The amount you may receive for your injuries will depend on how you were hurt, how bad the injuries are, and what your recovery might be like.
Accident Advice Helpline can assist, as we have handled other claims stemming from accidents in a factory. Call now on 0800 689 5659. This means you can be sure of getting no-obligation advice regarding your own accident. If we can support you by helping you make a no win no fee claim, we will let you know as soon as possible what you must do.