Machinery is regularly used in manufacturing, construction, and in many types of industrial workplaces. Although employers have a duty to ensure that workers have a safe working environment, accidents can still happen.
Workplace machinery accidents can arise due to any number of reasons. However, many incidents occur as a result of a failure to implement necessary safety procedures and precautions. According to OSHA, inadequate machine guarding is the cause of 18,000 amputations, crush injuries, lacerations, and abrasions — as well as 800 worker deaths— each year. In fact, OSHA listed failure to meet machine guarding requirements as one of the top ten most frequently cited standards in 2019.
Workplace machinery accidents can result in devastating injuries. If you were hurt on a construction site due to a machinery accident that was caused by a third-party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
Causes of Workplace Machinery and Heavy Equipment Accidents
Depending on the worksite and project, various pieces of machinery or equipment may be used — and some are more dangerous than others. If you work in construction, you might be working with table saws, sanders, drilling machines, or other electric equipment. You may also be required to operate heavy machinery, including cranes, forklifts, trenchers, bulldozers, dump trucks, and excavators.
While working with any dangerous machinery or equipment always presents some risk, certain conditions can sometimes exist that may jeopardize the operator’s safety. In addition to machine guarding hazards, other common reasons workplace machinery accidents can include:
- Lack of protective gear
- Inadequate training
- Poor lighting
- Operator fatigue
- Improperly maintained equipment
- Failure to supervise
- Machine malfunction
Critically, employers must ensure that workplace machinery and equipment are in good working condition and the surrounding area is free from hazards. They also have an obligation to provide personal protective equipment appropriate for the specific task the worker has been assigned and ensure all workers receive proper safety training.
Even when safety measures are in place, accidents can still occur due to machinery defects or a manufacturer’s failure to equip the machine with a proper safety warning. In these cases, an injured worker may be entitled to bring an action against the manufacturer under a theory of product liability.
Compensation for Workplace Machinery Accident Injuries
Injuries arising from workplace machinery accidents can be debilitating and life-changing. They can include laceration, disfigurement, amputation, burns, broken bones, eye injuries, electrocution, crushed limbs, concussion or brain injury, nerve damage, paralysis, fatality, and a wide range of other injuries.
Workers’ Compensation covers workplace accident-related medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain amount — it also provides benefits to families who have lost a loved one in a machinery accident. However, in many cases, Workers’ Compensation benefits may not be sufficient to cover the full extent of a workplace accident victim’s damages.
The New York Workers’ Compensation system generally bars workers from suing their employers for negligence. Although you can’t bring suit against your employer, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against a responsible third-party to recover your damages. For example, if a subcontractor or another party on the site created a hazardous condition that contributed to your machinery accident, they may be held liable for negligence in a personal injury action.
By filing a workplace accident lawsuit, an injured worker may be able to recover economic damages for unreimbursed medical expenses, time lost from work that wasn’t paid through Workers’ Compensation, and accident-related out-of-pocket expenses. A jury may also award compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Regardless of whether they received Workers’ Compensation death benefits, the spouse and dependents of a victim who passed away due to their work-related accident injuries may also be able to file a wrongful death action to recover for their economic loss.
Contact an Experienced Workplace Machinery Accident Attorney
Workplace machinery accidents can have a significant impact on your ability to work and participate in the hobbies or activities you once enjoyed. You might also require extensive medical treatment and procedures. If you’ve been hurt in a workplace or construction accident, personal injury attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. can help ensure you recover the maximum monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, and on Long Island in Nassau County and Suffolk County. Contact us for a free consultation.