What are industrial injuries?
An industrial workplace is considered to be a place where day to day work often involves heavy machinery and manufacturing using materials. Often a worker will be performing their regular work with the use of heavy tools, machines and other equipment which involves an element of risk.
Proper protection and protocols are extremely important in an industrial setting as minor problems leading to accidents can result in catastrophic and very serious injury. The environment itself can lead to issues in later life such as loss of hearing/sight and also the spread of severe illnesses as a result of exposure.
Increased risk factor
Industrial work as mentioned above often involves the use of heavy machinery such as the manufacturing industry; it also often requires employees to engage in more manual tasks from lifting and carrying to physically working with materials. An industrial environment can also contain spores/particles in the air that can damage unshielded people.
Because of the heightened risk factors associated with this atmosphere, it is important that an employer always provides appropriate protection from risks, with training also provided to keep best practices in their employee’s minds while working. Failing to do so is tantamount to negligence and could cost a company heavily should a serious injury occur. In the most extreme industrial accidents, negligence could even cost lives.
More severe injuries
In an industrial environment it is not unlikely that injuries suffered are more serious than other workplaces due to the type of jobs being performed with the materials/ tools required. Serious injuries we have experienced from our clients in the past include:
Mesothelioma: Caused when working in environments containing asbestos. Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of internal organs and can be excruciating and life threatening for sufferers. It is the cause of around 2,500 deaths per year with males who worked in building/manufacturing industries in the past the highest at risk.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: An obstructive lung disease which causes damage and tightens airflow from the lungs. Unlike asthma, airflow will not improve with medication for COPD sufferers. Caused by air pollution and badly ventilated environments such as consistent exposure to open fumes/smoke with no ventilation, COPD can have long lasting effects. COPD currently causes around 25,000 deaths per year.
Pneumoconiosis: A similar restrictive lung disease like COPD, pneumoconiosis caused 260,000 deaths back in 2013. Depending on the type of dust in the air, there are several names including coalworker’s pneumoconiosis, asbestosis (asbestos), bauxite fibrosis (bauxite) and byssinosis (cotton) among others.
Amputations: Commonly found as a result of serious injury caused by machinery, some accidents will require limbs to be amputated to avoid spread of infection. Amputations in industrial environments are often the result of direct trauma to a body part. The long term effects can be devastating mentally and physically for both the amputee and their family.
Lacerations: Working with machines that have sharp edges or rough surfaces such as saws, lathes, drills and chamfers carries higher risks of serious lacerations than other workplaces. Injuries from these tools will not only result in cuts but the possibility of cutting off extremities like fingers or causing deep lacerations that in the worst situations could catch arteries and cause untold, possibly fatal damage.
Aftercare & support
Sincere Law has been dealing with serious injuries from industrial workplace accidents for over 20 years; involving victims requiring amputations, long term physiotherapy, psychotherapy and other dramatic lifestyle altering changes. In the most severe cases the working life of the victim involved would unfortunately be over. The most important aspect following serious injury to us is your care and support afterwards, whether that be care required, medical costs, equipment to alter the home and lifestyle and of course loss of earnings from time away from work or the inability to continue working.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury of any kind as a result of working within an industrial environment, get in touch with one of our advisers to see if you are able to make a claim. Our solicitors work on a no win no fee basis, meaning you won’t pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. To speak to use simply call 0800 092 2896 or fill in our contact form here. We give free, impartial advice to anyone who thinks they have a claim.
Industrial injury case studies
Client's finger cut off
The client was working with a cutting machine as part of their job which involved working with metals and plastics. The client was already working on one machine and was asked to take over another by their line manager, having not been told the line manager had already started the process on the machine to be taken over.
The client thought he was starting from the first of a two step process but, because of not being informed, the machine had already started the second process and came down on the clients thumb, cutting off part of it. Unfortunately the client could not have the section of his thumb reattached. Needing the wound re-dressed for a period; he suffered consistent pain as result even after the wound had healed over.
No investigation was made upon his return to work but the machines were altered to avoid this injury again. This injury could have been avoided had the available extra safety features already been in place. Due to this negligence the client now has painful sensations in their thumb which will never fully heal past the section which was cut off.
Following the incident, Sincere Law was able to advise the client on the best course of action and we were able to secure a settlement of £1,850 of compensation and damages before court proceedings began.
Client's finger cut off
Our client was working with a machine that ground plastic into powder. He was tasked with removing some plastic from the machine as somebody had placed inappropriate, hot plastic into the machine which interfered with the blades, binding them. They were given PPE in the form of poly gloves which was not appropriate for the task. Appropriate gloves had been ordered but until they arrived were making do.
After turning the electricity off the client went to place a wood block between the blades to prevent them from spinning while being lifted out. Unbeknownst to the client somebody had already placed the block in the machine. He was removing the wood to place it in the correct position when the heavy blades spun as it was being removed. The result was his middle finger was cut off at the knuckle and the ring finger was also broken.
Another colleague had also had their finger cut off 3 weeks prior to the client. No changes to safety procedures were made following both the client and their colleague’s injuries. Our client was off work for approximately 7 weeks. Despite being signed off for 3 months the client was consistently called by their line manager to return to work.
Following the accident the client now has difficulty in performing certain recreational activities they enjoy such as fishing and also has trouble looking after their young child, struggling with changing clothes and nappies. They also had to adapt their hand writing as the finger was on their writing side.
We were able to successfully advise the client on making their claim, managing to secure a £7,000 compensation plus damages settlement before court proceedings were started due to the employers admitting liability.
Client's thumb crushed
The client was working with the transportation of building waste. The incident occurred when he went to place a hydraulic sheet over his vehicles trailer after filling it with building waste product. With one hand he had a grip on the hydraulic sheet and pulled a lever with his free hand which would pull and secure the sheet over the trailer. While guiding the sheet into its position on the trailer, it missed the frame and swung around, trapping the clients thumb.
After reversing the pulling process by pushing the lever to release the sheet he was able to remove his thumb which had been completely crushed and was bleeding profusely. A colleague helped him to first aid where it was bandaged. After being taken to hospital it was revealed in an x-ray that the thumb was broken and had been crushed. The wound required operating on the following day. The client received reconstructive surgery aided by antibiotics.
Although the thumb had been reconstructed the client had lost feeling in it. The client has been informed by the medical staff that the feeling in his thumb may never return. After being advised that recovery could take between 16-18 months the client was required to be given lighter duties at work. They still feel pain sensations in their thumb and also find it difficult to enjoy recreational activities like going to the gym and bike riding.
The client was off work for 7 days, during which time statements were taken by colleagues but no investigation was made into the safety of the task he was performing. The sheet used as a cover was worn and old and could have prevented the accident if new sheets were purchased to replace aging materials. The employer agreed to settle the issue out of court and following advice from Sincere Law we were able to award the client with compensation and damages of £3,850 for their injuries.
Client's thigh lacerated
The client was working as a subcontracted water technician renewing pipelines. Although having training for their job they had not received specific training on ‘slip lining’ which is what they were being asked to perform. The client was installing protection on the new pipes to ensure they would not be pierced by the old piping. Having been equipped with poly cutters which were the incorrect tool for the job, the client cut through their thigh causing a deep laceration into the muscle.
Following an investigation it was found there was a specific tool best suited for the job the client needed to perform which wasn’t given to them. The result of the incorrect tooling was the client suffered a 3 inch laceration on their thigh which cut deep into the thigh tissue, causing heavy blood flow and requiring several stitches to repair.
The resulting injury has caused extended pain in the thigh, weakening the muscle which would take many months to fully recover from even after the laceration had healed. The employer admitted liability given the result of the investigation finding a more suitable, safer tool and after advising the client on the best course of action were able to secure him £2,280 in compensation and damages for his injuries before court proceedings began.
Client suffered Carbon Dioxide poisoning
The client was working on site as a subcontracted member of staff laying down a concrete floor on the top level of a building. The building had already had skylights and windows fitted/bolted down which gave no room for ventilation. Other workmen came to add the finish to the floor, using petrol powered machines called power floats. The exhaust fumes of these machines began to fill the room while everybody, including the client, was performing their duty.
No masks were available or provided to any of the workmen. The employees continued to work but after some time members of the party began experiencing problems including one worker passing out and others feeling very sickly. After some of the workmen left to go outside following their problems the remaining workers including the client turned off the power floats to finish the job.
An ambulance was called as the client began to experience bad chest pain alongside his colleagues. Our client felt a combination of chest pains, a severe headache and feeling light headed, verging on passing out. While in the ambulance the client was given 100% oxygen and upon entering hospital was required to inhale that percentage for 14 hours. After monitoring the levels of carbon dioxide it was discovered he had been inhaling 19.6% in the air within the room (very high considering normal air is less than 1%).
Following the incident the client regularly suffered weakness and tiredness of the body, combined with chest paints which felt like scratching pains on his lungs. He continues to suffer residual damage and feels pain whenever he exerts his body which hampers his ability to perform physical recreational activities. He has since been referred to a Neurologist.
After admitting liability the company he was working for agreed to settle the claim out of court and thanks to our advice and guidance were able to secure the client £2,050 in compensation plus dmaages.