It is a necessity that in order to live our lives the way we would like to, everyone must work to take account of the day-to-day expenses that are part of life. Working in different environments carries with it different risks, and nowhere is this more apparent than working in a factory, particularly where dangerous machinery may be in use.
While no one can deny the important role that factories have, like many other working environments a factory cannot be deemed as completely safe.
Working in a factory is viewed by many as being incredibly risky. There may be noxious chemicals which could injure workers, dangerous machinery as mentioned before, and a changing personnel i.e. working in a factory may make it more difficult to keep track of temporary staff/ agency workers who may not be fully trained on machinery and procedures. All of this is very true of working in a factory, and are the reasons why employers are required to take special care of their employees.
Employers’ Responsibilities For Factory Workers Safety
Regardless of whether an individual is working in a factory or a building site for example, as part of their agreeing to work for an employer, the employer is expected to take reasonable care of them. Should the employer fail to do this then an employee could claim compensation for damages.
An employer has to also make certain they have ‘Employers’ Liability Insurance’. This is a particular kind of insurance that employers must have, and will ensure that they are able to pay compensation to employees in the event that a claim for an accident at work is brought against them. The insurance also ensures that employees that make a claim of this kind cannot be subjected to disciplinary action for doing so.
Employers must ensure that the working environment of their factory employees is free of the following;
- Inadequate, damaged or generally unsafe equipment
Should your employer provide equipment or machinery which they know unsafe, and an employee becomes injured because of using it, then your employer will be liable to compensate that employee.
It is not unusual that in a factory, machinery may be put under strain from constant use and can become dangerous. If an employee is injured while using the machinery, it is the employer that is at fault, in not removing this danger.
- A lack of safety equipment
Employers are obliged to provide their staff with the safety equipment that will be required for them to carry out their day-to-day activities. Employers are required not only to provide this, but also to instruct their employees in how to use it. This is particularly important in the context of factories where specialist equipment is often in use.
The necessary guards, gloves, helmets and clothing must be made available to employees.
There is also a special case for asbestos related injuries, which can occur from working in factories as well as many other environments. The law works in such a way that if an individual finds that they have suffered from being exposed to asbestos – which can cause other associated illnesses – in the previous three years, and that their employer did not take the necessary measures to protect them – discussed below – then they may be able to pursue a claim. This is still the case if an individual has left that particular employer – again, provided the injury is found within three years of having left said employer.
- Dangerous working practices
When working in what can be a dangerous working environment, as both factories and building sites can be, employers are obliged to remove any working practices that could potentially harm their employees i.e. dangerous working practices.
While the machinery and tools that are often used in these environments are complex, the law only requires that employers take simple steps to preserve their employees safety – working practices should be designed in such a way that have employee safety as the prime objective.
Proximity to chemicals should be conditioned with appropriate safety clothing and protection, and use of specialist equipment should be guided by accessible safety procedures.
Helping Reduce Factory Accident Claims
While it may be difficult to understand, it is incredibly important to understand the expectation that the law places on employers. Unless there is a particular piece of legislation that an accident claim is being brought under, that sets out the precise nature of an employer’s obligation to protect their employees, employers are only required to take reasonable care.
As a result of this, employers are not required to remove all elements of risk from the working environment – this would be impossible and would likely bring an end to many industries. Employers are simply required to take measures that allow individuals to carry out their tasks in a safe way, and train them to do so. It is also very important to note that factory employees/ workers are expected to shoulder some of the responsibility in working safely.
Factory workers are obliged to observe the rules and procedures that their employers have laid down, and work in partnership with their colleagues to foster a safer working environment.