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Your guide to defective equipment

Faulty equipment

As an employee, you are entitled to expect your employer to provide you with the legally required standard of care by ensuring that the equipment you use is suitable and safe for the job you are expected to carry out. This equipment may include any machinery, tool or plant you are asked to use at work. Yet the Health and Safety Statistics Annual Report, 2013/14, shows that process, plant and machine operatives have on average the second highest injury rate in the UK.

If work equipment is broken or defective, it is dangerous.  If you unknowingly use equipment that is defective, expecting it to be safe, you could be at serious risk of suffering a severe or even life-threatening injury.

Defective equipment in the workplace can include:

  • Broken equipment
  • Machinery with disabled, faulty or missing safety guards
  • Equipment with temporary repairs that fail to make it safe from the risk of an accident
  • Slow, faulty or a non-working emergency STOP switch on conveyors or other moving machinery

An employee who has an accident at work caused by a breach in the legal requirement owed by an  employer to supply appropriate equipment in good working condition is entitled to pursue a claim for the harm and suffering caused. 

Your Legal Friend has an in-depth knowledge of workplace law and injury compensation and over 30 years of experience in successfully managing workplace compensation claims. We can provide you with all the expert guidance you will need to help you make your case and secure the best possible settlement. 

What is work equipment?

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), any item which is used by an employee at work is classed as work equipment.

Work equipment is defined as:

  • Any machine, tool or device provided by an employer to assist an employee, or a self employed person treated as an employee, in carrying out their job.
  • Any equipment required to be used by employees to do their job even if not carried out at the workplace itself.

Work equipment at the place of work includes:

  • Factory machines, such as power presses, circular saws, lifting equipment including lifts and elevators  
  • Tools, such as drilling machines, hammers, knives, ladders
  • Devices such as computers, laptops, photocopiers and other office equipment
  • Kitchen appliances, such as kettles, toasters, microwaves, fridges
  • Mobile equipment, such as motor vehicles, forklift trucks, dumper trucks, hydraulic trolleys

Employers’ responsibilities

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 (PUWER) is one of the main pieces of legislation that places a duty of care on the owners, operators and controllers of equipment in the workplace.

The Regulations require that equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Suitable and safe for intended use
  • Correctly installed
  • Maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is and does not subsequently deteriorate
  • Used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • Accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls
  • Used in accordance with specific requirement

Reducing risk

Employers must ensure that risks created by using equipment are eliminated where possible or controlled as far as reasonably practicable.

The appropriate actions are:

‘Hardware’ measures

Providing suitable guards, protection devices, markings and warning devices, system control devices such as emergency stop buttons, and personal protective equipment.

  • Machine guards – one of the most frequent and regular causes of a serious injury is a faulty, missing or disabled machine guard. Sometimes the guards are not re-attached after machine maintenance, service or repair because it takes too long.

In a number of cases, the guard has been disabled so any blockage that could slow or hold up production can be quickly cleared by an operator without following the necessary safety precautions, which are intended to prevent the risk of an accident.

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), every employer shall ensure that measures are taken to:

 - Prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery

 - Stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”

  • STOP controls - your employer is also responsible for ensuring that the right type of adequate STOP controls are fitted to the equipment, which enable a machine to be turned off quickly and safely in an emergency. A machine operator should be given instructions on what to do if the equipment needs to be quickly shut down to prevent further serious injury if an accident occurs.

‘Software’ measures

Following safe systems of work and providing adequate information, instruction and training about the specific equipment.

Defective equipment – do I have a claim?

To succeed in a claim for an injury caused by defective equipment, you will need to show that the employer should have reasonably “foreseen” the accident would happen.

In many cases, an employer will have failed in his legal responsibility and duty of care to provide one or more of the following legal requirements:

  • Regular risk assessments
  • Routine safety inspections and equipment maintenance
  • A safe system of work put into place
  • Appropriate training to correctly operate the equipment

How Your Legal Friend can help you

As experienced personal injury specialists, we have over 30 years of experience in managing compensation cases involving accidents at work.  We are committed to guiding you through every step of the process and ensuring that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by specialist solicitors with a record of success in this field.

Our in-depth knowledge of workplace law and injury compensation can provide you with all the expert guidance you will need to help you succeed in making your claim.  We can:

  • work with you on a guaranteed no win, no fee basis
  • help you with medical treatment, rehabilitation and your return to work
  • ensure care and support services are available for the most serious injuries
  • advise you on how to claim for DWP benefits to help you along the way
  • skilfully manage your compensation claim to include:
    • payment for the pain and suffering caused by your injury
    • any financial losses you’ve incurred already, such as lost wages, travel and medical expenses
    • any expenses you may need in the future.

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of our specialist personal injury solicitors, call us now on 0808 163 5645 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.