Crush Injuries

Crush Injuries in the Workplace Compensation Claims

What is a crush injury?

A crush injury occurs when the body or a body part is trapped, pinched or jammed under or between objects. The pressure can harm skin, muscles, nerves or bone, depending on the degree of force.

  • Common causes of crush injuries at work
  • Crush injuries are sadly all too common. Below is a list of the causes of many crush injuries at work. A higher than average number of crush injuries occur on building sites and farms
  • Dropping heavy objects
  • Being hit by vehicles
  • Fork lift trucks
  • Falls from height
  • Trapping limbs in doors
  • Faulty plant and machinery

Types of injury and Treatment

Typical areas of injury are to the following parts of the body:-

  • Finger/thumb/Hand
  • Arm
  • Leg
  • Foot/Toes
  • Chest

In the majority of cases the injury will be bruising and maybe a laceration requiring conservative treatment such as painkillers, strapping or maybe stitches.

Less typical injuries can be more severe leading to complications such as nerve damage or paralysis. Sadly there are still too many cases where crush injury is fatal mainly arising from a crush injury to the head.
Two particular complications of a crush injury can be:-

Compartment Syndrome – This is a serious condition caused by increased pressure in a muscle compartment around the area of the body that was crushed. Suffers have problems with the muscle and nerves around the affected area together with blood flow problems. It is characterised by loss of sensation in an area, paleness of skin, severe pain and weakness of the area.

It is treated generally via a surgical incision that is left open for a period of time allowing the pressure to reduce. However there can be complications especially if it is not treated quickly leading to long term problems and possibly amputation of the limb.

Crush Syndrome – This is also known as Bywater’s Syndrome and occurs as a result of pressure on the muscles that when relieved causes toxins to be released into the bloodstream. These toxins are extremely damaging to the kidneys possibly causing renal failure and ultimately death if not treated.

Treatment includes hydration, relieving the pressure on the affected muscle, dialysis or possibly amputation.

Am I entitled to compensation?

All employees are protected by legislation and laws relating to the workplace. In particular there are a number of laws designed to protect employees from crush injuries. Below is a list of some of the laws that apply in the workplace and how they should protect you:-

Safe system of work – In all workplaces there should be systems in place advising employees how to work safely. Operating plant or machinery can be very dangerous of the wrong procedures are not in place. An employer that has no such systems or has not trained his employees properly will be liable if an employee is subsequently injuries. It is not enough just to say that there are safe working methods but also that they have been properly implemented.

Personal Protective Equipment – Basically this means that an employer has a duty to provide his employees with safety equipment and should ensure that it is used. A classic example of this is the building injury. Many crush injuries are avoided by the use of hard hats and steel toe-capped boots. Failure to have proper safety equipment and ensuring that it is used correctly would lead to a successful compensation claim.

Manual Handling – This is the method by which anything is lifted/carried. Clearly heavy objects could injure your back if lifted incorrectly but can also lead to a crush type injury. An employer who fails to give training or asks you carry objects that are awkward or too heavy might be liable to pay compensation if you are injured.

What do I do next:-
Contact one of our expert Solicitors now either via our Freephone number or send us an email. We will call you back as soon as possible and advise you as to whether or not you have a claim.
Apart from compensation you might be entitled to rehabilitation help such as physiotherapy at no cost to you.

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