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A case concerning a factory worker from Essex who was injured in a workplace accident illustrates the importance of carrying out risk assessments and providing staff with protective clothing where necessary.
The man was injured when using an angle grinder, a versatile handheld power tool that is widely used in metalworking and construction for cutting, grinding and polishing. He lost control of the machine, which hit him in the face. As a result, he has been left with permanent scarring to his cheek.
Initially, he decided not to take any action over the incident and continues to work for the same company. However, certain in his belief that his injury could have been avoided had his employer fulfilled its health and safety responsibilities, he eventually sought legal advice and pursued a personal injury claim. As a result, he has obtained £13,000 in compensation.
Accidents involving angle grinders are all too common. In 2014, a welder secured a five-figure payout after he was injured in a horrific accident in which an angle grinder sliced through his throat. Doctors told him that he was 'millimetres from dying' and the accident left him with severe psychological injuries as well as physical damage. Yet again, it was a case where no risk assessment of the task being performed had been carried out.
Employers have a legal duty to assess health and safety risks in the workplace and take reasonable steps to remove or minimise those risks. Where employees work in dangerous conditions, they must be trained in how to do so safely and provided with protective clothing and equipment where necessary.