Engineer's laceration due to an unsafe machine

As a production engineer working at a factory for Muller Wiseman Diaries, our client's role required him to fix broken machinery and to ensure the factory processes were running smoothly.

On the day of his work accident, the drive belt of the factory's labelling machine had snapped and our client and a colleague were required to fix it.

Our client needed to crouch down on his knees to repair the drive belt. There was not a lot of room to move around the machine, which remained in operation as he was working on it. The labelling machine has a part called the tension, or dancing, arm that holds the labels and moves. As he stood up, our client caught his face on the arm, causing a cut his forehead down to the bridge of his nose.

The Consequences

Immediately after sustaining the laceration, our client fell to the ground dazed and with blood pouring from the wound. His colleague took him to the first aid room where he received treatment to stop the bleeding. Despite the pain in his face, he stayed at work and finished his shift.

In the three to four weeks that it took for our client's face to heal, he continued to clean the wound and take pain relief medication. After the healing period, he was left with scarring on his nose and forehead.

Although he didn't need to take any time off work, and therefore didn't suffer any loss of earnings, the injury still affected our client's life. The scarring made him extremely self-conscious when meeting new people and his social confidence was knocked. He was also unable to play football, his favourite hobby, for several weeks.

The Settlement

The engineer instructed Thompsons' work accident solicitors through his union, USDAW. We intimated a claim to his employer.

Our client blamed the positioning of the labelling machine's tension arm for his injury, as it protrudes from the machine and causes a hazard to all workers in the surrounding area. He is also aware of similar accidents that have happened to other employees where they have caught themselves on the machine. Although workers are provided with protective equipment, the employer stopped supplying bump caps, which may well have prevented our client's injury in this case.

To ensure we obtained our client the fairest amount of compensation for a machinery accident claim, we arranged an examination by a consultant in emergency medicine so a medical report could be made. The report confirmed a blunt head injury that resulted in residual scarring (although this is not noticeable at a conversational distance).

A copy of the medical report was sent to the insurance company acting on behalf of the employer, which responded with an offer of £5,000. After our work accident solicitors discussed this amount with the client, it was rejected. An improved offer of £6,000 was therefore put forward, which our client was happy to accept. Settlement was agreed on 8 September 2017.

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