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Defective machinery, amputations and fractures

Published on 8 November 2023 | Modified on 8 November 2023

Written by Stacey Bennett

Personal Injury

We have had several cases where our clients have lost fingers or suffered broken limbs as a result of defective machinery or a lapse of concentration of the person operating the machinery whom the victim may have been assisting.

Employers have a duty to ensure that there is appropriate supervision, training and monitoring to ensure that machinery is being safely used.  They must also ensure there are clear procedures for how machines are to be operated accompanied with risk assessments and regular training of employees in their use.  They must also ensure there is a clear procedure in place as to what should happen if the there is a problem with the machinery that requires intervention.  This should include how the machinery should be isolated, how to know if it safe to approach, who should be carrying out the checks/maintenance and ensuring that the procedures are regularly reviewed, updated and trained on as required.

The consequences of this failure was recently highlighted by the HSE who recently brought a prosecution against a bed manufacturer whose employee had to have three fingers on his left hand amputated after they became trapped in a machine that had a fault but failed to power down and his left hand came into contact with dangerous moving parts.  The company were found guilty breaching sections 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs.

Another recent prosecution was brought against a firm who failed to ensure that an area of machinery was sufficiently guarded as per the manufacturer’s manual which resulted in a trainee being pulled into the machine and suffering a broken left arm in two places.  The firm were found guilty of breaching section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs.

The consequence of failures to have suitable systems in place to operate and maintain machinery can result in catastrophic injuries which leave a permanent reminder of the incident for the victim alongside lifechanging injuries.

Should you suffer an accident at work due to defective machinery, please feel free to contact our Personal Injury team who have extensive experience of helping people recover compensation on 01270 762325 or We are happy to help.


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