The chances for an accident to occur are quite high when working with heavy machinery. Due to the size and weight of pieces of equipment, machinery, and vehicles typical in most industries, a small mistake or equipment defect can be a safety hazard.
The results are often disastrous when body parts get caught in or struck by exposed moving parts or flying objects from machines that are not adequately guarded.
You may be subjected to significant or catastrophic injuries that require a great deal of medical care and leave you unable to work at all.
While your injuries will be unique to you and the incident that caused them, it is common to suffer:
- Cuts, lacerations, punctures
- Crushed limbs, hands, fingers
- Fractures and broken bones
- Traumatic amputations
- Concussions and skull fractures
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Electrical burns
Common causes of Machine-Related Injuries
Unavoidable or inescapable accidents often occur to equipment operators, but this is rarely the case.
Machines can’t move on their own, so accidents can’t just happen without any reason. Machine accidents can happen in many ways.
While some cannot be prevented, many occur because someone was negligent in their duties. Negligence from an employer, supervisor, or fellow worker is generally to blame as this causes improper maintenance, loading or unloading, handling, training, or planning.
The cost of this negligence is grave and provoke the following machinery-related accidents:
- Rollovers. When the ground is unstable, the machine is poorly maintained, or the operator loses control, the machine could lose its balance and topple to the side.
- Collapses. An accident that frequently occurs in machines with cranes as they could buckle under the weight of its cargo and crumple to the ground which could fall on someone.
- Malfunctions. A machine that is not maintained correctly can be as dangerous as a machine without the proper safety guards or the wrong machinery being used to do the job. When the machine fails to perform its job, the effects of a faulty machine can range from loss of control to accidentally dropping a heavy item or items on workers below.
- Machine collisions. An injury is caused by a machine collision when it runs over a worker or pins him between a hard surface. These accidents commonly occur when the operator loses control of the machine, or the machine is left running but unattended.
- Inadequate training. Workers are frequently asked to operate machinery with little or no little training to get things moving along quickly. But, inadequate training for the sake of productivity can pose a real danger as it can lead to mishandling or misusing the machine, which could result in serious injuries.
- Operating machinery without any protective gear. Workers who use or operate any work equipment can be affected by its unique set of risks and potential for injuries. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing are necessary when using these types of machinery to protect the employees from the potential dangers of heavy machinery. While many workers would appreciate the necessity of protective gear at work, there would always be a stubborn one who would refuse to wear PPE and prefer to gamble with their safety.
Things to do following a machinery accident
If you are injured in a machinery accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as the state law requires nearly every employer to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for its employees.
The following information will help protect your legal rights if you suffer a job-related injury:
Seek Medical Attention
The first logical step is to do is to seek medical attention.
Your employer is legally required to provide immediate medical attention and call 911 when the injuries appear to be dangerous.
For non-emergency care, you will be highly encouraged to get medical care as soon as possible.
Attend Medical Appointments
It would be in your best interest to make an appointment with an injury doctor after the visit to the emergency room.
In the case of workers’ compensation, the rules state that you can only see your regular doctor on one condition: that your employer knows the name and address of your physician before you get treatment. Without it, you will be required to visit the doctor from your employer’s medical provider network.
Attending all of your doctor appointments and following their recommendations precisely would help your case. It would give the claims administrator a reason to open an investigation or deny your worker’s compensation claim if you fail to comply with your doctor’s orders.
However, you have the right to get a second opinion if you disagree with the treatment prescribed by your doctor.
File a Claim Through Your Employer
Ask for a claim form to pursue a claim and wait to hear from the claims administrator. It is the responsibility of your employer to file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance company on your behalf.
Make sure to follow up to confirm that a worker’s compensation claim is filed. You are entitled to a copy of the workers’ compensation claim filed by your employer.
Wait to Hear from The Claims Administrator
An investigation will be initiated by your employer and their insurer after filing a claim.
In a few weeks following your claim, you would receive written notice as to whether your appeal was accepted or denied; however, you need to contact your claims administrator directly if you do not hear from them after a while.
Once your claim is approved, you will start to receive temporary disability benefits within two weeks of your doctor declaring your injuries prevents you from doing your job and will continue receiving the next ones after every 14 days for as long as you are eligible.
Once your doctor states you will never be able to recover from the accident fully, you will be eligible to receive permanent disability benefits or a voucher to pay for training at a different job.
Get Help of Professional Workplace Injury Attorney
The days following a machinery accident should be focused on making your physical recovery. Consulting an attorney to deal with your workers’ compensation would ensure you are well compensated following a devastating accident on the job.
Compensation is the proper way to get them to make amends if your employer has been negligent in their duty to provide a safe working environment for you, and you have suffered an injury as a result.