A heavy equipment accident can be horribly disfiguring, and often leaves the victim with permanent physical and mental trauma. Worse, these injuries aren’t uncommon, as industrial and construction machinery are responsible for nine of the 10 most common workplace incidents in the country. Nearly any piece of machinery can represent a threat to worker safety, but as long as the machinery is designed and manufactured well, and maintained well, the risk to workers should be minimized. Most of the time, though, when there is an injury involving machinery, safety violations are soon discovered.
WHAT CAN CAUSE A HEAVY EQUIPMENT ACCIDENT?
While all machines need to be handled carefully, some machines are particularly prone to causing injury. They include:
Vehicles like bulldozers and forklifts
Some of these machines are found at constructions sites, while others are used to manufacture various goods. Vehicles like forklifts are found wherever bulky items need to be loaded and moved. In short, thousands and thousands of workers every year do their job with or around these technologies. With so much exposure, it’s essential that machine manufacturers and workplace safety personnel do their jobs properly.
Sometimes, though, workplace managers and machine manufacturers have other concerns in mind. Machinery needs to be arranged on the floor to give workers adequate space to stay clear of any hazards, but factory owners sometimes place a greater emphasis on maximizing floor space. Workers need to be trained in proper operation methods to ensure all procedures are followed correctly, but management personnel is often too busy or too negligent to provide the training. All safeguards should be kept in place as a safety fallback, but factory management is often pressured to maximize production, forcing them to remove safeguards. And machine manufacturers need to execute thorough QA before selling their products, but too often safety checks are discarded in favor of profits.
All of these lapses in safety can result in a heavy equipment accident. A worker’s clothing or hair may become entangled in the machine. A careless forklift driver may collide with a worker, or poor signage may make it impossible for a worker to know where vehicles are permitted. Poorly maintained machinery may be too difficult to use easily, resulting in injury resulting from strain. Tools placed on top of a machine may shake loose during operation, falling on workers below. The resulting injuries can be severe, even fatal, and are often so bad that a worker cannot return to their job.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURY CAN HEAVY EQUIPMENT ACCIDENTS CAUSE?
Being struck by a forklift, run over by a driver navigating the worksite or caught underneath a falling crane are just a few examples of how an incident can take place. Any of these events typically leave behind grievous injuries. Crushing and striking injuries can result in broken bones, severe lacerations, contusions, burns and even worse trauma. Some of the worst injuries occur when the incident damages the brain, and these are known as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
TBIs can range from a mild concussion to multiple lesions, contusions and lacerations in the brain. Almost 100 percent of people who suffer a mild TBI will recover fully and not suffer from any long-term complications. People who are badly hurt and suffer a severe TBI are generally not so lucky. These victims will have to overcome long-term complications like motor disorders, speech disorders, chronic pain, nausea, seizures, problems with focusing or learning and mood disturbance. While many people who suffer from a TBI are eventually able to live independently, physical and mental therapy may both be needed to facilitate recovery. This can quickly put a victim in a bad spot financially, a situation that is already bleak due to lost work time.
Why You Need a Heavy Equipment Injury Lawyer
Worker’s compensation can help deal with some medical expenditures, but it is usually not enough to pay for all expenses. If the heavy equipment accident was due to mechanical failure or another party other than an employer, a worker can bring a negligence claim against them for a larger settlement. An heavy equipment injury attorney can inform a worker of their options, and guide their claim through the legal process.