Industrial machines tend to be made up of a great many different moving parts. These parts can be very dangerous for machine operators, maintenance employees, and construction workers. According to recent statistics, mechanical equipment has been a factor in up to 80% of work-related deaths.
Accidents involving heavy industrial machines can cause catastrophic injuries, including amputations, crushed bones, electrical injuries, explosions, burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, blindness, or death.
Unfortunately, many workers are not be properly protected from the hazards that come with operating or maintaining industrial machinery. The proper safety measures may not be in place and workers may lack the training to operate a machine properly and safely. Machinery defects, outdated equipment, inadequate safety adherence policies or standards, and inadequate guarding of the machines are also reasons that industrial machinery accidents happen. The Philadelphia industrial machinery accident injury lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm are committed to fighting for those hurt while operating heavy equipment. Call (215) 709-6940 to speak with an attorney.
New Safety Measures for Industrial Sector
Federal and Pennsylvania industry standards and regulations mandate that corporations, their company executives, and plant and manager supervisors put in place a number of safety measures to prevent serious injuries and deaths.
While most workers will receive workers’ compensation when they are injured on the job, these benefits frequently do not cover all of the damages and costs that come with a catastrophic injury. Those costs can be especially burdensome if you have been injured as a result of being near or operating industrial or heavy machinery.
You may not be able to file a lawsuit against your employer, but our injury lawyers can determine whether there are any third parties, such as machinery manufacturers, that can be held liable for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, medical costs, and other associated expenses.
Factors that Contribute to Industrial Machine Injuries in Philadelphia
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgates rules and regulations aimed at protecting the health and safety of workers. These rules are meant to prevent workplace accidents. Unfortunately, accidents still occur, often resulting in serious injuries or death. Some of the common causes of industrial machine accidents are listed below.
When industrial machinery is poorly maintained, it could create a safety hazard. For example, dangerous equipment could be missing safety guards or have faulty shutoff switches. An employer has a legal obligation to inspect, repair, and maintain the industrial machinery and equipment used at a worksite. When workers are injured due to negligent machinery maintenance, they could have grounds for a personal injury claim.
Inadequate Training or Supervision
Large industrial machinery requires knowledgeable operators to ensure the machinery functions properly. In addition to maintaining the equipment, an employer has an obligation to ensure anyone operating dangerous heavy machinery is adequately trained. Without proper training, an employee might not know how to avoid a hazardous or deadly situation.
In addition to trained employees, experienced supervisors should ensure that each employee is performing their duty. Without a supervisor, a simple problem could quickly turn into a catastrophic accident.
OSHA has many rules and regulations in place to prevent serious work-related injuries. However, if an employer complies with every safety regulation, including training employees and maintaining the machinery, a reckless or careless employee could still cause a devastating accident. A negligent employee could endanger their fellow workers.
Accidents and injuries sometimes occur when employees are conscientious and employers do everything they are supposed to do. If a piece of machinery has a design defect or manufacturing flaw, it could be impossible to operate safely. When a piece of machinery or equipment is unreasonably dangerous due to a design or manufacturing defect, the product manufacturer or distributor could be held liable.
Liability for an Industrial Machinery Accident in Philadelphia?
In legal terms, liability refers to a person, company, or entity’s legal responsibility for another’s injuries and damages. A person could be held liable for an industrial machinery accident if their conduct directly contributed to the injury, whether it was negligent or intentional. In other cases, the company or equipment manufacturer could be responsible for any harm. Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident to determine what party or parties could be held liable.
In Philadelphia, if you are injured in a work-related accident, including one involving industrial machinery, you are typically not permitted to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. Under Pennsylvania law, an injured employee must file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation provides two immediate benefits. First, you would not be required to prove negligence. In addition, you should receive your benefits faster than you would through a civil lawsuit. However, you are prohibited from recovering for pain and suffering.
Some exceptions could open an employer up to legal liability.
- Your employer failed to offer workers’ compensation insurance
- The conduct by your employer was intentional and meant to cause harm
- The injury occurred because of a personal relationship between you and your employer not related to your job
These exceptions are rare. Nonetheless, our office will evaluate your employer’s conduct to determine if any of the above exemptions apply to your case.
Depending on how the accident occurred, a third party could be held liable for your injuries. For example, it is not uncommon for an outside company to be contracted to install or maintain industrial machinery. If a contractor negligently installs a piece of heavy equipment, perhaps failing to attach safety rails, the company could be held liable if its negligence caused the accident. Furthermore, if an outside contractor is hired to inspect the equipment and does not conduct a proper inspection, it could be held responsible if it malfunctions and causes an injury.
If the industrial machinery contained a flaw or defect that caused the accident, the equipment manufacturer could be held accountable if someone was injured in an accident. Common defects include faulty wiring, a weak safety guard, defective connections, or an insufficient warning label. To prevail in a claim against an equipment manufacturer, our office will have to prove that the defect existed at the time of the accident.
Types of Injuries Suffered in Philadelphia Industrial Machinery Accidents
Industrial machinery accidents often result in devastating, disabling, and sometimes fatal injuries. The size and nature of heavy machinery make any injuries especially harmful to any employees involved in an accident. Industrial machinery presents a reasonable danger that most workers understand. However, when another party’s negligence causes an unsafe condition, workers face an unknown hazard. There are countless types of injuries a worker could suffer because of an industrial machinery accident. Below are a few of the more common ones.
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Permanent or temporary paralysis
- Fracture or crushed bones
- Electrical or chemical burns
- Lacerations or puncture wounds
- Wrongful death
The complications of an industrial machinery accident injury could last a lifetime. A worker could experience disfigurement, permanent scarring, or be left with a cognitive or physical disability. In many cases, an injured worker will never be able to work again. Some unfortunate workers might sustain fatal injuries. No matter how severe your injuries are, our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys will aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our Philadelphia Accident Attorneys Represent Workers Injured by Defective Machinery
To schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced Philadelphia accident attorneys, call us today at (215) 709-6940 or contact us online. One of our attorneys will speak with you personally and explain what the claims process will entail.