Machine Accidents And Workers’ Compensation
Machine accidents can leave workers with catastrophic injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. At AlpernSchubert, P.C., our Pittsburgh work injury lawyers have the experience to ensure the best possible outcome for your workers’ compensation claim.
Many jobs require workers to operate dangerous heavy machinery with complex moving parts, some of them for cutting, sawing or grinding. Using conveyors, forklifts, lathes, punch presses, boring machines, and other equipment all present a risk to the worker if the equipment is defective or the proper safety precautions have not been taken. These machines also need to be inspected and maintained by the workers who use them. Accidents can happen both during operation and maintenance. In a machine accident, a worker can be pulled into the moving parts of the equipment and suffer a number of injuries such as:
- Broken fingers or hands
- Degloving injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Amputations of arms/legs
- Eye injuries
- Electric shocks and burns
Common Causes Of Machine Accidents
- Improper guarding – Because industrial machines are so dangerous, they are generally provided with safety guards for the moving parts that pose a hazard to the workers operating them. Pinch points and shear points are examples of places where safety guards are needed to protect the workers who operate the machinery. These guards should never be removed. Barriers, enclosures, and grating fences can also be used to obstruct access to machine hazards.
- Lack of personal protective equipment – Where appropriate, workers should be provided with personal protective equipment that can help prevent machine accidents. This includes gloves, safety goggles and hard hats.
- Inadequate training – All the safety equipment in the world will not make a difference if an employer fails to train workers in how to use it properly. It is crucial to review the risks and hazards associated with each piece of machinery so that workers have to the knowledge they need to recognize and avoid them. A worker that changes assignment should receive training on the new equipment.
- Lockout procedures – Safety education and training includes proper lockout/tagout procedures. These must be strictly followed during maintenance of machinery. Equipment that is still energized or mobile can severely injure an employee.
- Defective products – Sometimes machinery is defective resulting in accidents that injure the workers using it. In these cases, the manufacturer can be held liable for injuries caused by the defective product in a third-party lawsuit. In other instances, it may have been the installer who is at fault for the machinery malfunctioning.
Recovering Compensation For Machine Accident Injuries
In Pennsylvania, the workers’ compensation system covers nearly all employees who suffer a work-related injury. Even if the accident was your fault, you should be covered. Exceptions to this are injuries resulting from horseplay at work, or substance abuse by employees who were on the job. A successful workers’ compensation claim can provide some or all of the following benefits:
- Wage loss benefits for temporary or permanent disability
- Medical benefits for hospital treatment, prescription medication, orthopedic appliances and prostheses
- Specific loss benefits for the loss of digits, limbs, sight, hearing or disfigurement
- Death benefits for the family of a worker who suffers a fatality
If your injuries were caused by a defective product, or unsafe conditions on a construction site, it may also be possible to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit which can be filed in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
We Represent Those Injured In Machine Accidents
If you have questions about recovering compensation for your injuries from a work-related machine accident, talk to a dedicated Pittsburgh work injury lawyer at AlpernSchubert, P.C. We will review your case for free and help you determine your best course of legal action.
Call 412-506-9561 today to schedule a consultation or contact us online. From our offices in Pittsburgh we represent clients in New Castle and Washington as well as the surrounding areas of Allegheny County, Lawrence County and Washington County.