Machines are an essential part of many industries, from manufacturing and construction to agriculture and transportation. However, working with machines can be dangerous, and accidents involving machines can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. Below we discuss the causes of machine-related worker injuries, ways to prevent them, and legal remedies available to injured workers.
Statistics of Machine-Related Injuries:
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 30,000 nonfatal injuries due to machinery accidents in 2019, resulting in missed workdays. The manufacturing industry accounted for the highest number of machinery accidents, with almost half of all incidents occurring in this sector. Additionally, workers in the agriculture, construction, and transportation industries are also at a higher risk of machinery-related injuries. The statistics highlight the need for increased safety measures to protect workers from machinery accidents.
Causes of Machine-Related Worker Injuries:
Machines can cause injuries in many ways, including entanglement, crushing, puncturing, and cutting. Some of the most common causes of machine-related worker injuries include:
Lack of Safety Training: Employees who are not properly trained on how to use machines or who do not understand the risks involved are more likely to be injured.
Lack of Machine Guards: Machine guards are designed to protect workers from the moving parts of machines. When machine guards are not used or are not working properly, workers are at risk of serious injuries.
Lack of Maintenance: Machines that are not properly maintained are more likely to malfunction or fail, resulting in injuries to workers.
Human Error: Workers who are distracted, tired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to make mistakes that can lead to accidents.
Examples of Machine-Related Worker Injuries
Injuries from machine-related work injuries can vary in type and severity. Below are a few examples:
Crush injuries: Crush injuries can occur when a worker’s body part, such as a hand, arm, or leg, is caught between moving parts of a machine or between the machine and a fixed object. This can result in broken bones, lacerations, and other serious injuries.
Amputations: Amputations can occur when a worker’s limb or body part is severed by a machine, such as a saw, drill, or conveyor belt. These injuries can be life-threatening and can result in permanent disability.
Burns: Burns can occur when a worker comes into contact with hot surfaces or materials, such as steam, chemicals, or electrical equipment. These injuries can be severe and require extensive medical treatment.
Electrical shock: Electrical shock can occur when a worker comes into contact with exposed electrical wires or equipment. This can result in burns, heart damage, and other serious injuries.
Hearing loss: Prolonged exposure to loud machinery can lead to permanent hearing loss. This is particularly common in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Prevention of Machine-Related Worker Injuries:
Preventing machine-related worker injuries requires a comprehensive approach that includes proper training, maintenance, and safety equipment. Some of the ways to prevent machine-related worker injuries include:
Regular Safety Training: Employers should provide regular safety training to employees who operate machines, including how to use the machines properly and safely.
Machine Guards: All machines should be equipped with appropriate guards to protect workers from moving parts. Employers should ensure that machine guards are regularly inspected and maintained.
Proper Maintenance: Employers should ensure that machines are regularly inspected and maintained to prevent malfunctions and failures.
Strict Policies: Employers should have strict policies in place that prohibit workers from using machines while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and require workers to report any machine-related hazards.
Legal Remedies for Machine-Related Worker Injuries:
When a worker is injured due to a machine-related accident, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Some of the damages that injured workers may be able to recover in a lawsuit include:
Medical Expenses: Injured workers may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor visits, and rehabilitation costs.
Lost Wages: Injured workers may be entitled to compensation for lost wages while they are recovering from their injuries.
Pain and Suffering: Injured workers may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by their injuries.
Wrongful Death: In the event that a worker is killed in a machine-related accident, their family may be entitled to compensation for their loss.
Seek Legal Guidance
Machine-related worker injuries can have serious consequences, but they can be prevented. Employers must provide proper training, maintenance, and safety equipment to protect their workers from accidents involving machines. In the event of an accident, injured workers may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a machine-related accident, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights and options. Anderson Franco is available to provide you with an understanding of your rights.