Farm machinery accidents at work: can I claim compensation?
What are your rights if you are injured while operating farm machinery? Coodes Solicitors’ Personal Injury lawyer Catherine Hyde explains when workers might be entitled to make a compensation claim.
Farming is the most dangerous occupation in the UK, with an average of one person a week being killed as a direct result of an accident at work in the agricultural sector. Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that transport-related injuries are the biggest cause of fatalities in the agricultural sector.
This not only includes accidents involving tractors but also machinery such as balers, combine harvesters and forklifts. The harvesting season is generally the time when agricultural vehicles are most heavily used, both on the roads and around the farm.
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Not received adequate training to operate farm machinery
Here at Coodes we are currently handling claims for clients who have been injured while working on farms. These clients suffered farm machinery accidents while operating vehicles that they were not properly trained to use. They had been instructed by their employers to move a piece of machinery on the farm, despite not having received adequate training to do so.
The HSE specifies that all people using equipment at work “must be adequately trained to ensure health and safety in its use, supervision of management.” That means that if you have been injured as a result of using farm machinery that you were not trained to use you may be able to make a claim against your employer.
Farm machinery accidents: when vehicles are faulty
In one of the cases we are currently handling, our client was asked to drive machinery that turned out to be faulty. The HSE advises farmers to carry out regular checks on machinery, to ensure it is in good working order. If you were injured as a result of using poorly maintained or broken equipment you may also be able to make a claim.
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Accidents involving casual agricultural workers
With farm work being seasonal, many agricultural workers are employed on a casual basis. This might involve farmers employing agency workers or even asking friends or family members to help out during busy periods. Whatever the status of your employment, if you have are injured while working on the farm as a result of having in adequate training or machinery being faulty, you may have a claim against your employer.
All farm workers, whether long-term employees or casual seasonal workers, should have thorough training before operating any farm machinery. They should also have the peace of mind that their employer has kept the vehicle in good working order to protect them against injury.