man driving a forklift truck in a warehouse

Working with machinery can be dangerous, especially if employers fail to provide adequate training or if machinery is not properly maintained. Whilst most employers recognise that proper health and safety is an essential part of running a business and ensure machinery is well-maintained, accidents do unfortunately happen because some employers fail to adequately maintain equipment or try to cut corners; occasionally, the injury may be because a fellow employee fails to carry out their duties properly.

Machine accidents at work remain a common cause of workplace injury in the UK, especially in industries which use heavy machinery.

Types of machinery accidents at work

There are many different types of machinery accidents at work that can happen and employees can be injured by various types of machinery. This guide will detail some of the most common accidents associated with operating machinery at work.

Pallet truck and forklift accidents at work

Forklift and pallet trucks are responsible for a significant number of accidents at work, often caused by inadequate supervision or training or maintenance of machinery.

The most common pallet truck and forklift accidents at work are crush injuries and staff being struck by machinery.

According to HSE, employees being struck by moving objects in the workplace accounted for 10% of all non-fatal workplace injuries reported in 2018/2019.

Crush injuries from forklift and pallet trucks can be particularly severe if a worker becomes trapped under the truck, resulting in amputation or in severe cases, fatalities.

Packaging machinery and production lines

Packaging machines and production lines are a common area where workplace accidents can occur. From repairs to a conveyor belt to faulty packaging machinery, accidents most often occur when equipment is not properly maintained and is therefore unsafe for workers to use.

Alongside crush injuries, such as fingers being caught in production lines, and workers being struck by moving machinery, workers on packaging machinery and production lines are commonly injured by heavy items falling onto them.

Electrical equipment

Operating electrical machinery can pose a number of dangers for workers - the most significant of which is electrical shock which can cause serious injury if machines are operating at high voltage.

According to the HSE, the main hazards of working with electrical equipment are:

• Contact with live electricity causing electric shock and burns
• Explosion or fire caused by faulty electrical equipment

The professions most commonly associated with electrical machine accidents at work are electricians and construction workers.

Preventing machinery accidents at work

All employers have a responsibility to protect their employees, contractors and visitors from machinery hazards in the workplace.

cardboard boxes on a production line

Regulations set out in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 stipulate that employers must ensure that machinery used in the workplace meet the following requirements:

• Suitable for the intended use
• Safe for use
• Maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not 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

It is imperative that employers provide workers with the necessary training and protection to carry out their roles.

What should you do if you’ve had a machinery accident at work?

If you’ve been injured using machinery at work, perhaps because your employer has failed to provide the necessary protection or training or a fellow employee has caused your accident, you may be eligible to claim. Contact us on 0800 0 224 224 for free, no-obligation advice or click below to start a claim.

For more information about machinery accidents at work and other workplace injuries, please click below.