When we think of dangerous occupations to work in, construction, mining, and roofing generally top the list outside of the armed forces, police and firefighters. One occupation that is often overlooked in the list of dangerous occupations is that of a garage mechanic. The fact is, mechanics working in the motor vehicle repair industry are exposed to a greater number of risks than compared to workers in many other industries, and because of the nature of the work involved and the use of power tools and heavy-duty equipment, when an accident happens in a garage, the injuries can be more severe.
If you’re a garage mechanic injured due to negligence, you should consult with a personal injury solicitor to explore your legal right to claim personal injury compensation.
Common Risks Garage Mechanics Face
From slip, trip and fall accidents to fires, explosions and exposure to poisonous gases, the different types of accidents that can occur in a garage are staggering, and some garage accidents can result in serious injuries and even death.
Slips, Trips And Falls
Grease and oil spills are common as mechanics carry out routine oil changes and greasing jobs. These could lead to slip, trips and falls if these spills are not cleaned up immediately or the area is not cordoned off. Not surprisingly, these types of accidents are all too common in a garage environment. The number of power devices and other equipment around the garage can compound the injuries resulting from a regular slip, trip or fall accident.
Fires And Explosions
Fires that may be sparked while working on fuel tanks and fuel lines, or tyre explosions can seriously injure not just the mechanic working on the vehicle, but all other workers in the vicinity.
Inadequately Supported Vehicles
In all garages, vehicles are routinely raised on jacks to carry out undercarriage work. A vehicle that is not properly placed will not be fully supported and could slip and fall off the jack, crushing the mechanic working underneath. A jack that is faulty or worn out also does not offer the necessary support, posing a great risk to the mechanic working under the vehicle.
Poor Manual Handling Accidents
Working in a garage involves a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling of heavy objects such as tyres and other vehicle parts. Using the wrong techniques while performing these types of strenuous manual tasks can result in a compensation claim for back injury at work where negligence is involved.
Tyre Removal, Replacement And Inflation Accidents
Removing, replacing or inflating tyres may seem like harmless everyday tasks but the fact is there are risks involved, especially when carried out by inexperienced garage mechanics. Common accidents involve the careless use of hand tools such as tyre levers, improper techniques used when handling tyres, and compressed-air accidents from burst or ruptured tyres.
Exposure To Exhaust Fumes
Exhaust fumes are an unavoidable occurrence in a garage. However, this does not make this an acceptable risk to garage mechanics. Garages are required to have proper ventilation systems that draw exhaust fumes outside. Without adequate ventilation, toxic exhaust fumes can quickly reach dangerous levels, endangering all workers in the garage.
Welders are at highest risk of eye injuries in a garage but other garage workers too may suffer eye injuries while performing various vehicle repair tasks.
Exposure To Asbestos
Inhaling air containing microscopic asbestos fibres can lead to a number of untreatable asbestos-related diseases. While these incidents are very rare, a few incidents of asbestos exposure in garage workers have been reported.
Laws Governing The Motor Vehicle Repair Industry
The motor vehicle repair industry is governed by multiple Acts and Regulations that address specific risks inherent in garage settings.
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are responsible for providing their workers with a safe working environment. To comply with this Act, employers are required to assess potential risks and put the appropriate safety measures in place.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 addresses the aspect of worker safety with regards to manual handling activities such as correct techniques to use during heavy-lifting, safety while handling electrical equipment, and proper use of power tools among others.
The Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 outlines employer responsibility with regards to inspection and maintenance of work machines.
According to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, employers are required to put adequate safety measures in place to limit exposure to toxic chemicals.
What the laws mean for garage owners
To comply with the various Acts and Regulations, garage owners are responsible for:
- Conducting risk assessments and putting appropriate protective measures in place to minimise risks in the garage;
- Providing workers with appropriate industry-standard personal protective equipment such as heavy duty boots and gloves, safety goggles, and respiratory masks;
- Providing all workers with proper training that covers all aspects of working in a garage as well as training specific to their assigned role.
If your employer failed in their duty of care and you were injured as a result, you may be eligible to pursue a garage mechanic injury claim for compensation.
Making A Garage Mechanic Injury Claim
If you’re a garage mechanic looking to make a personal injury claim following an accident at work, you should get in touch with a personal injury solicitor for legal advice. As many solicitors and law firms now offer a free consultation, this is a perfect opportunity to receive expert legal advice at no cost.
There are several advantages to having a solicitor as opposed to pursuing a claim by yourself. First and foremost, personal injury solicitors are experts in this field. Not only do they have thorough knowledge of the law, they also have experience in fighting these types of work accident claims. This itself gives them the advantage over any lay person trying to pursue a garage mechanic injury claim.
Secondly, they have access to legal and medical professionals who can give expert testimony to support your claim if necessary.
Another benefit is the No Win No Fee agreement. This contract can come as a real relief as it means you do not have to pay the solicitor any legal fees while the case is in progress. You only pay a success fee if your claim is successful. The No Win No Fee agreement will lay out the exact amount payable and how it is to be paid.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with a personal injury solicitor about a garage mechanic injury claim please contact us today.