Machinery Accidents Overview

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Introduction
Every year thousands of workers suffer painful injuries or death due to heavy machinery accidents. Even though many state and federal regulations are in place—as well as industry standards requiring safety training and safety measures to be taken—accidents still happen. Machinery accidents are often just that—accidental. But they can be caused by: the negligence of individuals who may lack the training needed to operate the machine; someone who may have a lapse in judgment, or a wrong decision being made that has a negative impact on others. Machine guarding and related machinery violations continuously rank among the top violations of worker safety.

What is a machinery accident?
Machinery is used in most construction and factory jobs, which both have long histories of dangerous work environments and on-the-job accidents and fatalities. Large machinery may include a vehicle such as a forklift, a trash compactor, or a printing press. Smaller but still dangerous machinery may include a meat grinder or slicer, or hand power tools such as a drill or electric saw. All of these machines have the potential to harm if used in the wrong way.

An injury from a machinery accident may result in an amputation (such as a finger, hand, or arm), a chemical burn, or other such injury. Many times, people are unaware of where the parts are in a machine or how they are used, and fail to take precaution until it is too late.

Just as the type of accident is dependent on the type of machinery, so too is the injury that might be incurred. Anything from a bad headache to a concussion—or even possibly death if the impact is severe enough—might occur. There are a number of possibilities, and this is why it is important to be aware of what can happen.

What can I do to prevent machinery accidents?
First, make sure you get the necessary training on any machine you will be using before you begin working on it. Make sure you know where the moving parts are located, where the safety guards are, what it looks like when something is wrong, and what to do in case of an emergency. If you are operating a machine that has multiple parts that are exposed, be sure to wear tight clothing, and tie your hair back if necessary. It is important to be alert at all times and to make sure that you are aware of the specific safety instructions that go with the specific machine you are using.

What should I do if I am involved in a machinery accident?
Once your medical needs have been taken care of, you should begin the search for legal representation as soon as possible. However, if your injury was a result of your own negligence and not the fault of your employer, you may not have a case. If possible, be sure to keep a record of your story and your timeline of events. Be aware that some states do not allow workers to sue the company they work for, but you may sue the manufacturer of the machine or the property owner. There is a statute of limitations—that is, the time you have from the date of the accident to file a suit—for machinery accident injury lawsuits, and it varies by state. Lawyers have the resources needed to conduct extensive investigations into machinery accidents, collect evidence, and take valid cases to court. Machinery accident statistics show that the sooner victims contact a specialized machinery accident attorney, the better chance they have of receiving compensation. If you are a victim of a machinery accident, be sure to get a lawyer on your side as soon as you can.

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