A machine at work malfunctioned; who is responsible?

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    A machine at work malfunctioned; who is responsible?

    Despite massive improvements in health and safety in the workplace, accidents at work are still common. The Health and Safety Executive suggests that each year over 110,000 people in the UK suffer some form of work related injury that leaves them off work, and British industry loses a total of nearly 5 million days each year because of workplace injuries, and a number of these are often caused by faulty equipment and machinery.

    Duty of care

    Employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees can carry out their duties in a safe environment. This includes ensuring any equipment required for employees to do their job is safe. It is the employer’s responsibility to check that no equipment and machinery is hazardous to use and that it is well maintained and functioning properly. Therefore, if a machine is faulty and malfunctions, which results in you becoming injured, your employer is responsible and you may be able to claim damages.

    Adequate training

    Not only are employers responsible for ensuring a machine is safe to use, but they are also obligated to ensure all employees are properly trained to use such equipment. If somebody receives an injury using a machine, even if there has been no malfunction, an employer can still be liable if the employee has not been trained properly. Machines don’t just include equipment used in factories and warehouses, either, but also office equipment, such as computers and photocopiers, and vehicles that are supplied by the employer for an employee to do their job.


    Even if you are self-employed and are contracted by a company that supplies you with equipment, you can still make a claim if you become injured due to any malfunction in this equipment. For instance, some taxi drivers are self-employed but will drive a car that is supplied by a taxi firm. If the car malfunctions, resulting to injury to the taxi driver, he or she may be able to make a claim against the owner of the vehicle.

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