Jane suffered chemical burns to both her hands during an accident at work.  Our expert legal team secured almost £10,000 in compensation for her pain and distress.

In April 2019, Jane, a hygiene operative with over 13 years of experience, felt a burning sensation to both her hands while using a tray-washing machine.  She realised her protective rubber gloves had disintegrated and the chemicals were all over the skin on her hands.

The chemical burns left her skin red, blistered, and swollen and Jane now suffers with chronic hand dermatitis.  She came to us for help and our legal team made a claim against her employers and won £9,945 in an out-of-court settlement.

Faulty machine causes chemical burn

The tray-washing machine Jane was using had developed a defect and had apparently been repaired prior to her use.  However, the machine wasn’t properly fixed and remained unsafe to operate.

It failed to rinse a strong caustic soda solution off the trays, this came into contact with Jane’s gloves, burning through the rubber to reach her skin.

The machine was known to the employer to be defective and despite this, it was made available to be used by employees without adequate safety measures or warning signs.  No other communication was given to employees about the hazards of using the faulty machine.

Because of the failures of the employer, we argued that they were negligent in their duty to provide a safe working condition and exposed Jane to a foreseeable risk of injury that could easily have been prevented.


Severe pain as protective gloves disintegrate

Jane commented on the case at the time: “I was using the tray machine as normal, we weren’t told there was any problem with it.  Very quickly after reaching in to remove some trays, I felt a terrible burning on my hands and noticed the gloves were breaking apart.

“I quickly took off the gloves and got my hands under running water to rinse as much of the chemicals off as possible, it was incredibly painful.”

A supervisor provided first aid for Jane on the scene, before she was taken to Accident and Emergency for further treatment.


Long-term pain and suffering following the work accident

Jane explained the long-term impact of the accident to our solicitor: “My hands are a mess, they are constantly dry and get easily irritated.  I have to wear protective gloves and use ointment every day.  It’s particularly bad trying to do normal household chores that you take for granted.

“I want to thank the entire team at Optimal that helped me recover some compensation for the pain and suffering I experienced, I hope it makes other employers more aware of the health and safety of their staff.”

Negligent employer failed to provide suitable care

Our senior solicitor, Diane Bradshaw, led the team in dealing with Jane’s case. Diane commented on the circumstances and how we were able to succeed in securing compensation: “Every employer is legally required to institute and enforce suitable and sufficient arrangements for health and safety in the workplace. Unfortunately, on this occasion the employer fell below the standard of care expected.

“We arranged for the client to be medically examined by a consultant plastic and hand surgeon, as well as a consultant dermatologist. On the basis of the two-specialist medico-legal reports, as well as the relevant guidelines and previous similar cases, we were able to accurately estimate the claim value.

“We discussed a suitable negotiation strategy with Jane and agreed the tactics we would use to secure her as much compensation as possible.”


Settlement reached for the work accident

Liability was admitted by the employer and an agreement settlement was reached. Total damages awarded amounted to £9,945.00 in an out-of-court settlement.

Jane was compensated for her personal injury, loss of earnings, care and assistance needs, as well as for her medical and travel expenses.

Having learnt of the settlement, the Claimant was delighted:

“Thank you, Maja, I have received the cheque. I would also like to thank the entire team for representing me in my claim for compensation and for the successful outcome”.



Unfortunately, accidents at work are not uncommon. If you have had an accident at work, you could be eligible for personal injury compensation. To learn more, please call our team on 0161 504 7619 or fill out a contact form online.