Heavy Machinery Accidents
Many essential industries rely on the use of heavy machinery to complete tasks that would not be feasible for individual workers. From cranes to forklifts, many workplaces are only functional through the use of machines that employ massive amounts of force. With so much power behind each movement, workers performing tasks that utilize these machines face the potential for serious injuries.
Even the smallest mistake made when handling a powerful machine can lead to a life-altering injury or even death. Heavy machinery accidents often cause the loss of a worker’s limb. For instance, the massive pressure behind the movement of a pressing machine could destroy the limb of a worker if a tiny bit of their uniform is caught in the machine. The most common amputations workers are forced to endure include a finger, hand, wrist, arm, leg, foot, or toe. Sometimes the amputation occurs as the result of the machine directly, but often a workplace amputation comes about after body part is crushed severely and must be amputated by a doctor. Many, if not most, workplace accidents that result in amputations shouldn’t happen if an employer has developed and implemented adequate safety procedures and if workers are properly supervised.
Over the last few years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has become concerned about an increase in the number of accidents resulting in workers losing arms, legs, and other body parts to amputation in some industries, so it embarked on a campaign to increase worker awareness and safety in a number of hazardous industries, including sawmills, manufacturing plants, and even the oil and gas industry. OSHA is closely monitoring workers in a number of areas to determine which types of machine interaction are resulting in the most injuries. More specifically, OSHA is looking at whether or not machine guarding is in place, whether or not machines are locked out when they are not in use, and whether proper safety training is provided for workers unblocking or clearing jams in large machines.
In addition to amputations, workers face the potential for electrocution, burns, and a number of other disasters when working with or near heavy machinery. Some of the most common machines involved in heavy machinery accidents include:
- hydraulic presses
- saws and cutters
- oil rig machines
- pipe and tube benders
- hydrotreating machinery
- smelting furnaces
- shearing and punching machinery
Catastrophic work injuries can lead to permanent disability or even a premature death. Even workers who survive, however, face a tremendous adjustment to life after amputation, which can feel overwhelming. Not only are there obvious physical challenges that must be overcome, but significant psychological damage also comes with such an injury as well.
Federal regulations require certain safety measures be taken, including the use of equipment and the implementation of training. Even a simple step, such as educating workers in how to react in a fire, can save the lives of employees. Some basic safety gear can prevent damage to the majority of workers. Basic gear, such as goggles, face shields, hard hats, gloves, steel toe boots, and coveralls should be worn as needed when dealing with machinery. Depending on the worksite, respirators to prevent inhalation of dangerous fumes and debris may be needed as well.
In some cases, however, some of the machinery or equipment used in the workplace may be defective, not have been designed to operate safely, or the manufacturer may not have provided adequate instructions for its safe use, any one of which could mean the equipment manufacturer may also have been negligent.
Workplace injury cases involving heavy machinery usually involve a significant demand for compensation because of the seriousness of the injury and the high cost of recovery and rehabilitation. What this usually means is the employer and its insurance company have a lot to lose and they are thus more likely to fight harder to minimize the potential payout to an injured worker. This is one of the most important reasons why anyone injured on the job who lost a body part or a limb should have an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney on their side.
Houston Heavy Machinery Accident Lawyers
An injury caused by a heavy machine can easily cause severe and life-altering damage. These incidents may lead to steep financial burdens for medical care and other long-term needs. It can be difficult to determine what amount of compensation will fully cover the costs associated with an injury, but the Houston heavy machinery accident lawyers at Adame Garza LLP have years of experience analyzing their clients’ circumstances to determine what will work best in most any situation. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a heavy machinery accident, we can get you back on your feet.