If you work at a construction site, manufacturing factory, or industrial facility, you are likely to be regularly exposed to the use of heavy machinery. Whether you work with, on, or near heavy equipment, you are at risk of an injury. Safety should be the primary concern in the construction and manufacturing industries, where there is a higher risk for accidents. If you are injured in a heavy machinery accident while working, you should work with a proficient attorney to determine whether you are eligible for compensation.
The Hazards of Heavy Machinery
Heavy equipment is necessary to complete specific jobs. Some examples of heavy machinery include:
- Logging equipment
- Cherry pickers
- Warehouse machinery and equipment
Improper use of this machinery puts you and others at risk of injury. Heavy machinery accidents can cause severe bodily damage or even death. These accidents can also damage the equipment and materials that are vital to the progress of the project.
Heavy equipment accidents often occur due to the following:
- Inadequate service or maintenance – Poor or unauthorized repairs can make heavy equipment dangerous to operate.
- Obstructed view – Operators often experience blind spots and obstructions while using heavy machinery. Vehicles may be too large to see well while backing up. Dirty or cracked windows can make it difficult for drivers to see clearly.
- Improper usage – incorrect equipment usage can result in an injury
- Defective equipment – An equipment manufacturer might be responsible for accidents that are caused by defective machinery.
Types of Heavy Machinery Accidents
The most common types of heavy machinery accidents include:
- Collisions – Coordinating the movements of on-foot workers and heavy machinery is vital to the safety of the workplace. Collisions with people usually happen when a vehicle is changing direction or backing up. They also occur when a vehicle’s controls are not properly locked.
- Falls – Falling from heavy machinery can lead to a severe injury.
- Falling objects – Heavy items can fall from forklifts and other raised equipment.
- Stuck-betweens – Large machines can pin people. They can also roll over and crush people.
- Electrocutions – Heavy electrical equipment and complex wiring connections contribute to up to 9 percent of fatal construction site accidents.
- Rollovers – Equipment that is parked on a slope or improperly loaded or unloaded can roll over and crush people.
Types of Injuries
Injuries involving heavy machinery are severe. Accidents that can occur with this type of equipment include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Burns and electrocutions
- Soft tissue injuries
- Damage to internal organs
Many people require immediate medical care. However, you might need long-term treatment. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work at all. Your medical bills can pile up, especially if you are not earning enough income to pay them.
Unfortunately, some heavy equipment accidents can be fatal. If someone you know has died after being involved in an equipment accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Can You Prevent Heavy Machinery Accidents?
Because many accidents involving heavy machinery are due to negligence or improper use, casualties may be avoided by following safety protocols. You should be familiar with your environment, wear protective equipment, perform regular inspections.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires heavy equipment operators to be appropriately trained. The training should include information about operating the machinery, negotiating tricky maneuvers, and following safety practices. People without training should never operate heavy machinery.
OSHA requires regular inspections of heavy equipment. Only equipment in working order should be in use.
Parking and storage are important too. Machinery should be safely stored when not in use.
Employers are required to provide a safe work environment. Many companies must follow specific state and federal regulations. When failure to follow safety standards leads to an accident, the employees who were involved may be eligible for compensation.
What You Should Do If You Are Involved In An Accident
If you are a victim of a machinery accident, you should take care of your medical needs immediately. Keep records of any medical procedures that are related to the accident. When you can, record what happened at the time of the accident. Take pictures if possible. You may need them if you seek compensation.
An experienced worker’s compensation attorney can help you get the resources that you deserve. You may qualify for financial compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. If you are unable to go back to work, you may need to make up for your diminished earning potential.
You may need to file a different type of claim. A product liability claim can help you recover damages and losses caused by defective equipment.
When you have suffered an accident associated with heavy machinery use, you should concentrate on recovery. Getting help right away can reduce the long-term effects of your injuries.
Let us work with the insurance company to maximize the outcome of your claim. Although we cannot reverse time, we can help you fight for your emotional, physical, and financial health.
Halperin & Halperin, P.C., can help you determine whether you can seek payment outside of worker’s compensation, how much you may be entitled to, and what you need to do to safeguard your legal rights.