How to get compensation for a factory accident injury in Nigeria

Compensation for factory accidents in Nigeria

Working in a factory in Nigeria can be a dangerous place to work, because of the large machinery and potential for injury. We always hear stories in the news of accidents which have happened and in fact some people view it as inevitable that there will be factory accidents which lead to injury, and sometimes even death. However, just because injuries in factory accidents is something that is likely to happen, does not mean we should accept them as inevitable. In fact, many factory accidents in Nigeria are avoidable and happen because the necessary measures to protect workers from injury aren’t in place.

Under Nigerian law, employers are responsible for the safety of their workers at work and especially in a factory. If your employer has not taken the steps needed to keep you safe, you may be able to make a factory accident compensation claim.

The law places a responsibility on the employer to provide good working conditions for their employees, this ranges from a healthy and safe environment, and provisions of safety equipment, etc. To further ensure that such responsibility is met, it provides remedies enforceable against the employer for certain injuries or diseases sustained during employment and at the workplace.

What responsibilities does an employer of Factory workers have to keep the workers safe from accidents?

Factories can be among the most dangerous places to work, this is why it’s especially important that factory owners live up to their duty of care to keep you as safe as possible from factory injuries. Examples of ways in which an employer should keep its workers safe include:

  • Providing the factory workers with the correct training for their role
  • Maintaining equipment in a safe working order
  • Providing the correct safety equipment
  • Keeping the floor free from tripping hazards
  • Carrying out risk assessments and taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents

The above are just some of the ways, there are others which may be applicable, so if you want to get compensation as a factory worker, and the issue is not on the list above, you may still be able to as there are other ways in which an employer may have failed in their duty of care to the employee factory worker.

What are the main causes of factory accidents in Nigeria?

There are many different causes of factory accidents, from poorly maintained equipment to a lack of proper safety training. We shall discuss a few of them below:

Slips – Majority of these injuries do not result in serious injury or death, however they are a potentially dangerous hazard and employers have a responsibility to mark and clear them up before they cause an accident. Other causes of this type of factory accident include obstructions, uneven surfaces, and poor lighting.

Falls – Falling from ladders or roofs can cause devastating injuries and factory accident deaths. There is also the risk of falling through a fragile roof, or into an opening in a floor or the ground.

Machinery – Employers have responsibilities to take steps to minimise factory machinery accidents. Machinery must be suitable for its intended use and safe to use, clean and maintain. The correct safety devices should be fitted and your employer should provide adequate information, instruction and training before you use any machinery.

Chemical hazards – very similar to a fire risk, chemical exposure can cause chemical burns, poisoning and in the most extreme cases, rapid death. The long-term side effects of chemical exposure are hard to quantify. A person can walk away from a chemically related accident with no visible impact, only for them to become seriously ill sometime later, possibly years into the future.

Employers are to follow all relevant regulations like the NESREA guidelines on the use of hazardous substances. Employers also need to monitor workers and ensure they are following safety procedures. If they don’t, and an accident happens, there could be a legitimate case for factory accident compensation.

How to claim compensation?

Generally, there are two ways an employee can claim compensation:

  1. Application for Compensation under the Employee Compensation Act, 2010
  2. Court action against the employer

Application for Compensation under the Employee Compensation Act, 2010

This law entitles all employees to claim compensation for occupational diseases and injuries sustained from an accident at the workplace or during employment.

Procedure for Applying for Compensation

  1. Notification to Employer: This must be done to the employer within 14 days of the occurrence or receipt of the notification of the occurrence stating the name of the employee, time and place of occurrence, nature and cause of the disease if known. The employer may further request for particulars of the injury or disease on a form prescribed by the Board.
  2. Notification to the NSITF –  The Employer must report the injury to the NSITF within 7 days of the occurrence of the injury or death or within 7 days of receiving the notification of injury and shall state the name of the employee, time and place of death, injury or disease, nature of injury or death, name and address of accredited specialist that attended to the employee and any other information required by the board.
  3. Application for Compensation to the NSITF: This is made in the form prescribed by the board and signed by either the employee or his dependent and must be made within 1 year of the occurrence of the injury or death. Compensation shall not be made if the application is not made within the time frame unless special circumstances exist, then the time frame can be extended to 3 years.


Court Action

An employee can institute a civil action in court against the employer based on negligence or any other legal principle.

In conclusion, employees need to be aware of the remedies available to them in the event of a workplace injury and employers likewise must be aware of the financial liability placed on them by the law in the event of workplace injury so they can strive to provide safe working conditions to avoid liabilities.


What information do you need to get compensation?

If you don’t have any information other than the fact that you have had the accident, that is fine. Your lawyer can help you piece together all the other information necessary for a compensation claim. However, as general information of what could be helpful, these are the things that could be helpful:

  • The date, time and place of the accident
  • A copy of the accident’s entry in the factory’s accident book
  • Contact details for anyone who saw the accident
  • Pictures of the area where the accident happened, ideally showing anything that contributed to the accident
  • Details of any medical treatment you received for your injuries
  • Details of any financial losses you have suffered as a result of the accident, such as prescription costs, time off work and so on


How much compensation can you get?

Unfortunately, factory accidents often lead to serious or life changing injuries, and even death, and so the compensation a worker might be entitled to will reflect the severity of the circumstances. Such as future loss of earnings and ongoing care needs. If an injury means the worker will never be able to work because he/she is paralysed, or will be unable to work in a type of role because there is a loss of limb, this will be reflected in the level of compensation. It is difficult to estimate how much compensation you could get, however, there are a number of types of damages that compensation for a factory accident will include, and these are:

  • General damages – to compensate you for all of the physical effects of the injury; pain, suffering and mental trauma.
  • Special damages – to compensate you for tangible losses, such as loss of earnings, that are not related to the injury’s physical effects. For example, having to cancel a significant event such as a wedding, which caused a financial loss, would come under special damages.
  • Ongoing care – to compensate you for the financial overhead of either paying for in-home care or having to spend time in a private care facility.
  • Medical costs – to compensate you for any money you have spent paying to have your injury treated, or for therapy and treatment during the recovery stage.
  • Travel costs – to compensate you for any money spent making journeys you otherwise you would not have had to, due to the accident or the compensation claim itself.



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We hope you have found this information helpfulPlease note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. This answer is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer

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