Can I claim compensation for a hand injury in a factory accident if I was injured due to a faulty machine guard which failed to cut off the machine. When I lifted the guard, the machine did not cut out and my hand got trapped in the moving parts.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

You should be entitled to make a claim for compensation for a hand injury in a factory accident against your employer’s liability insurance company. It would appear that by failing to ensure that health and safety control measures were functioning correctly your employer has been negligent and failed in a duty of care to keep you safe at work. However you should speak with a personal injury solicitor to confirm your eligibility to make a claim for a hand injury in a factory accident. The circumstances of the accident and the steps you took after an injury can affect your right to make a claim for compensation for a factory hand injury.

It is an employer’s legal responsibility to make sure that health and safety risks are kept to the minimum possible level in the workplace. Machine guards are certainly an important control measure and may be vital to ensure that machinery can be operated safely; however they are only an effective control measure if they are correctly installed and are properly maintained. If a machine guard is present but ineffective, faulty or broken, it can cause employees to take less care than they otherwise would if there was no machine guard present. This can make the chance of an employee sustaining an injury far higher than if no machine guard was actually fitted.

If your employer has allowed factory machinery to fall into disrepair, so that cut off switches did not work properly – and you are injured as a direct result – you are within your rights to claim compensation for a hand injury in a factory accident.

However, even though the machine guard was defective, a compensation for a factory hand injury will only be awarded if it can be established that a ‘reasonably attentive’ worker would have sustained an injury under the same circumstances. A claim for a hand injury in a factory accident will not be possible if the accident and injury was primarily your fault.

Although it would appear that you have a valid claim for a hand injury in a factory accident, we strongly recommend speaking with an independent personal injury solicitor. Eligibility to make a claim for a hand injury should be confirmed, and most accident victim’s benefit from receiving legal advice before an application is made to the Injuries Board. A solicitor can also increase the probability of receiving your full entitlement to compensation for a hand injury in a factory accident from your employer’s insurance company.