Heavy machinery is widely deployed in construction, mining, manufacturing, and warehousing. Studies show that occupational accidents involving heavy machinery account for a significant percentage of serious injuries and fatalities. Mobile heavy equipment, including trucks, are a factor in more than one-third of all construction site fatalities.
There are many reasons why these accidents happen. Don’t blame employees. Enter info about employer fault and third party liability. See our blue book/workers’ right to workers’ compensation
A qualified Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help injured employees file for Workers’ Compensation benefits and determine whether a third party may be liable for additional damages.
There is a wide variety of heavy machinery and equipment in use today across a number of industries. In the construction industry, backhoes, dump trucks, and other heavy mobile equipment account for more than half of fatal accidents. In warehouses and factories, forklifts are commonly involved in serious accidents. The types of heavy machinery that present occupational hazards to workers include the following:
Operating or working near any type of heavy machinery exposes employees to significant risk of injury. If an incident happens, injuries may be devastating, including multiple fractures, amputations, brain trauma, and spinal cord damage.
The most common types of accidents involving heavy machinery can be grouped into the following categories:
Struck-by accidents: These include instances in which a worker is hit by a truck or other mobile heavy equipment, as well as getting struck by a swinging crane or a load carried by equipment.
Falls: Falling from equipment or from a platform attached to equipment are two of the most frequent types of accidents. The cabs of many types of mobile heavy equipment are high off the ground; falls from those heights can result in serious bodily injury.
Caught-between or crushing accidents: There are many types of caught-between or crushing accidents, including de-gloving when a worker’s hand gets caught in a machine. Rollovers may crush operators or nearby workers when a piece of mobile heavy equipment tips over.
Electrocution: Live power lines high above a work area or buried under the ground present a real risk that is not always apparent to workers on a job site. An entire machine may conduct electricity into an operator or anyone touching the machinery, should any part of the equipment encounter a power line.
Heavy machinery accidents can happen anytime, particularly if the equipment is defective or poorly maintained. On construction sites, studies show that heavy machinery accidents are most likely to happen when equipment operators are involved in the following tasks:
Improper loading or operating on uneven surfaces can result in rollover accidents, which are the leading cause of heavy equipment operator fatalities on excavation worksites. Workers who are walking on foot at excavation sites are more likely to suffer serious injuries by being struck by equipment loads or flying parts or objects. In factories and warehouses, heavy machinery accidents are more likely to happen when operators are engaged in the following tasks:
On construction sites, mining areas, warehouses, and factories, serious accidents often occur when other workers get crushed by forklifts or other vehicles that are backing up, or when workers are caught and dragged along by mobile machinery. Often, this is because the operator does not see the pedestrian because of blind spots or lack of warning lights on the equipment.
It is a misconception that most accidents happen by chance. In reality, accidents occur because of a chain of events that, in most cases, include one or more negligent parties. It is the responsibility of the employer to maintain a safe workplace. That includes providing adequate safety measures, as well as training for employees and ensuring there are enough resources and time to perform maintenance on vehicles and heavy equipment. Manufacturers and dealers have a duty of care to provide equipment that includes adequate safety features that are designed to prevent accidents from happening. Common reasons why heavy machinery accidents happen include the following:
OSHA provides guidelines that set forth the practices and procedures needed to maintain a safe workplace. Many accidents can be prevented simply by following OSHA guidelines. More accidents can be prevented if manufacturers and dealers install basic safety features.
Accidents happen when manufacturers, dealers, or employers (while employees might bear some fault, we don’t want to discourage injured parties from calling us b/c they think they bear some responsibility. That’s up to us to determine) neglect their duty of care. Heavy machinery accidents often result in serious or fatal injuries, which include but are not limited to the following:
Injuries from heavy machinery accidents are often costly, resulting in multiple hospitalizations, lengthy time off from work, and in some cases, disability that prevents an injured employee from returning to work. For these reasons, injured workers should seek professional counsel from an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer to fully explore all options for obtaining recovery to pay for expenses and other damages.
Employees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania may file for Workers’ Compensation benefits to pay for medical bills and wages lost because of injuries sustained at work. Workers must follow specific procedures in filing a claim to preserve their eligibility for benefits. Workers’ Compensation shields employers from liability, however, there are many instances in which a third party may be held liable for causing a heavy machinery accident. Examples of negligent third parties include the following:
If these or any other third parties are found to be negligent, the injured worker has a right to file a third-party personal injury claim.
In addition to assisting injured employees navigating the process of filing for Workers’ Compensation, Galfand Berger LLP has extensive experience handling third-party claims. Several cases we have successfully settled for workers include the following:
Each year, incidents involving heavy equipment cause devastating injuries to operators, as well as coworkers nearby. Many times, injured employees are unable to return to their previous line of work. The Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP have investigated hundreds of occupational accidents over the years. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-222-8792 or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.