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Faulty Equipment at Work: Who is Liable

Posted in Whose Liability is it (anyways)? on October 17, 2017

Accidents at work are almost commonplace in the world today. From slipping and falling to machinery slip-ups, accidents occur on an almost daily basis. This holds true especially for factory and large-scale warehouse work, where large machinery and equipment is used on a day-to-day basis. With large machinery and equipment, inevitably come breakdowns. Sometimes those breakdowns are simple, such as a little wiggle when driving a cart or vehicle, and these could be quickly fixed without too much harm. However, those faults and issues can sometimes cause definitive harm to the individuals who operate such equipment. In those cases, especially at work, it is important to identify who was at fault for the accident and what can be done about it.

What is Considered Faulty Equipment?

When it comes to faulty equipment at work, the immediate thought for fault is the employee. In most cases, this may be true. An accident that occurs at work can be caused by negligence due to the employee or worker not properly doing his or her job. This is mostly seen during assembly line work, where monotonous work and repetition causes one to become loose and lazy. However, sometimes the equipment is to blame.

Proving equipment is faulty can sometimes be a challenge. Pinpointing exactly how the faulty equipment caused the accident can be difficult, as one may argue that the way that it was used was incorrect. Or it might have been just user error and not the equipment’s fault. In order to prove faulty equipment, it must be proven that even if the equipment was correctly used, the equipment itself was still faulty, meaning that the job still holds the same risk even if properly executed due to the equipment faults. This could be seen in something like a conveyor belt not stopping when the emergency stop button is pressed or if a vehicle did not properly stop when the brakes were applied.

Who is Liable for Faulty Equipment?

When pinpointing who is at fault with equipment failures and faults, one must look at why it broke down in the first place. If the machine broke down after general wear and tear, it can usually be placed upon the employer, company, or overseer that runs the shop or factory, as it was their negligence of maintenance or inspection that caused such an accident to occur. The second possible party that is liable is the maker of the equipment itself. If a company sends over hard-hats for miners and one is found to be as flimsy as paper, it can be assessed and noted that the maker of said equipment is the one at fault when the incident occurred due to their product being faulty from the onset. Lastly, the one who operates said equipment is still possibly at fault. Although many will get upset with this statement, liability for use of faulty equipment can still fall on the user as he or she is also supposed to be the one to inspect and maintain the equipment to some basic degree.

To fully figure out who is the liable party, negligence and fault must be determined. Specifically, what fault caused the incident? If the fault is found from something that was factory-borne, such as a defect from the start, that would be considered negligence on the makers of the equipment. If it came down to general wear and tear beyond the standard time frame, that would be grounds for negligence on the side of the company or overseer of the factory or warehouse, as it was the negligence of maintenance that caused the fault. These are just a few examples, but the basis is still the same: Figure out where the fault lies, and the liable party may have to face responsibility for the fault.

Call our office today to get assistance on your faulty equipment case.

Original Source: http://www.lapezejohns.com/whose-liability-is-it/faulty-equipment-work-liable/