Work Place Accidents and UK labor LAWs

The Background
This case study highlights a case, focusing on a claim made by a worker to an employer, having an accident incurred due to un-safe working conditions at the production facility. This also shows the efficiency of the legal experts and UK LAW where protection to human lives at work place is extensively bonded under the law.

The Incident – PROBLEM
The plaintiff was aged 17, and was working in West Sussex in a timber yard as a laborer. He was supporting a colleague in the clean-up of a “chip silo”. This silo was used to mash pieces of wood into smaller chips for consequent dumping. The wood was broken down into chips by a rotating corkscrew-like blade at the base of the silo. At the same time as the plaintiff and his colleague were performing this work, the blade was continuing to rotate. His right leg became caught by the blade and he was then pulled over and ended up with his body and left arm twisted and crushed in the region of the blade.

The plaintiff was trapped for over an hour and continued to remain awake throughout. His left arm was severed below the elbow and he also suffered a closed brutal fracture to his left femur and a significant injury to his left knee. At the same time as attempts were made to save the left arm, it was surgically removed in hospital 18 days after the accident. The plaintiff also had to have a total left knee substitution operation.

The Legal Analysis
Given the plaintiff’s young age the legal experts in the case were asked to remark on how long the knee substitution would last. It was concluded that a knee substitution had a predictable life of between 10 to 20 years at which point the plaintiff would require a revision process. If a revision is not likely to possible, surgical removal of the organ would be obligatory. It was concluded that there would be a 20 / 30% chance of the revision surgery not going ahead in the future. Future losses were difficult to evaluate as the plaintiff was at the start of his career. He was working as a laborer but his purpose had been to apply to the Navy at the age of 18. If the plaintiff were to have a surgical removal on his left leg in the future, bearing in mind the loss of his arm, his mobility and broad level of disability would be critically compromised. The plaintiff would not be able to use crutches and would no doubt find it very difficult to handle two prostheses, one on the upper limb and one on the lower limb. It was clear that, should an above knee surgical removal turn out to be necessary, the impact upon the plaintiff’s life would be very serious indeed.

The Solution
An application was therefore made to the court to include a claim for provisional damages. A claim was made for lost income of over £500,000, and the claim for surgical removal and orthopedic treatment also exceeded £500,000. Transport costs were evaluated at £78,000 with equipment and care amounting to over £150,000. The trial was then started, and the parties attended all the sessions, a legal settlement was agreed at £1,340,000 plus the payment of legal costs, which thus went into the favor of the plaintiff.

Accidents can or may happen at work, and special care must be made to those areas of production where risk to human lives is to a greater extent. All the developed nations of the world have laws binding precautions at work place and is been constantly compliance by the related labor departments. What improvements are suggested to current legislation?

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This indeed is very relevant in Pakistan with our heavy industries and manufacturing industries. Almost all companies have accident insurance. The case-study should also state the full details of the current laws in Pakistan.