Industrial Injury Caused by Defective Equipment
Billions of Dollars Won on Behalf of Injured Workers in Houston & Nationwide
Many industrial accidents occur due to the operation of defective equipment and tools in the workplace. If you have sustained injuries in an industrial accident because of defective equipment, the attorneys at Arnold & Itkin can help you. We know life becomes more difficult after sustaining injuries in an accident; that is why we are dedicated to helping clients recover the compensation they deserve.
Defective equipment can include the following:
- Hand tools used for welding, hammering, and other activities
- Industrial equipment including rotators, conveyors, feeder belts
- Transportation equipment such as forklifts, cranes, hoists, and derricks
- Office equipment such as chairs, desks, electronics, and more
- Construction equipment like scaffolding, forklifts, and power tools
- Oil rig equipment like rotary tables, hoses, and suction lines
Injured by Defective or Malfunctioning Equipment?
The use of defective equipment can lead to a range of head and body injuries, including injuries to the eyes and face. There can be falls from defective stairways and ladders, as well as injuries caused when malfunctioning loading and unloading equipment is used for lifting and lowering heavy loads. Any defective component that is used in the assembly and disassembly of a crane can cause serious crane accidents, including tip-overs or collapses. Electrical equipment missing proper insulation can cause electrocution, burns, and electric shock.
Defective equipment can often lead to construction accidents. Defective crane components can affect the reliability of the assembly and, consequently, the operations of the crane, leading to severe accidents. Even concrete girders, beams, and defective scaffolding can cause serious construction accidents that can be traced to negligence on the equipment manufacturer. Defective tools that are used by workers can lead to severed limbs, crushing injuries, and fractures. Malfunctioning nail guns can cause ricocheting of nails, resulting in severe trauma like eye and head injuries.
Oil Drilling Equipment Malfunction
There are about 30 different parts that need to be in good shape for a drilling rig to function correctly. Each of these parts needs to be properly maintained to help workers avoid harm. Equipment like rotary tables, the drill floor, Kelly hose, and suction lines all need repairs as soon as operators know there’s a problem—if they’re not, workers’ lives are put at risk. Quite possibly in your situation, one of these parts malfunctioned, causing the rig to either catch on fire, explode, or you may even have been injured because of a falling or protruding part.
Rig maintenance workers are responsible for ensuring that these things do not happen. They can be held accountable if an accident occurred because there was an equipment malfunction. Employers can also be held responsible because the company itself is the one responsible for making sure these routine checkups happen—and happen thoroughly.
Defective Construction Equipment Attorneys
The construction industry contributes to a high number of workplace accidents every year. In fact, the fatality rate for workers killed in construction accidents is the third highest among all accidents in the workplace.
Although employer negligence is a factor in many of these accidents, defective construction equipment also plays a role. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for the design and manufacture of various types of equipment used in the workplace, including regulations for the safe design of cranes, forklifts, and scaffolding, as well as design safety standards for power tools, machinery, ladders, and other equipment.
When you work with Arnold & Itkin LLP to handle a lawsuit related to defective construction equipment, you can rest assured that our experience will work to your advantage. We understand how OSHA regulations may affect one's ability to seek and recover compensation for injury caused by a defective piece of construction equipment and apply our legal knowledge to seek maximum compensation on each client's behalf.
Crane accidents are one of the most common workplace accidents on a construction site. Many are caused by malfunctioning or missing components in cranes, hoists, and rigging devices. Even experienced crane operators can fall victim to serious accidents as a result of defective parts. The Crane Manufacturers Association of America sets standards for the designs of cranes and hoists. In addition, crane manufacturers must comply with the design standards of the ASME/ANSI, which specify safety regulations for commercial cranes and hoists.
These regulations include the following standards:
- Safety latches must be provided for all crane and hoist hooks.
- An electrical disconnect switch must be provided for all cranes and hoists
- The electrical disconnect switch must be located in a labeled box with lock mechanisms in place.
- An electrical disconnect switch must be provided for all crane pendants.
- All hoist and hook blocks must carry labeling that signifies the maximum capacity of the hook.
- Cabs and bridge cranes must have motion alarms installed.
- Cranes and hoist hooks must not be repainted.
- The bridge underside must carry signs indicating NWSE directions.
- Building cranes and hoists must come with a slip clutch or an upper limit switch.
- New cranes and hoists must undergo load testing to a capacity of 125% before put into operation.
- If the crane or hoist has an overload device, separate load testing must be done to the required setting.
- Any platforms or baskets suspended from the crane must be designed according to specifications.
In addition to meeting the design and manufacturing standards of cranes and hoists, it is also important to ensure that all rigging equipment and components meet quality standards:
- Nylon slings that have damaged stitching or fibers or are worn out or discolored must never be used.
- Wire rope slings should be free of cracks, broken wires, and twisted hooks.
- All steel slings must be crack-free. Shackles, slings, and hooks can't have fractures or signs of welding.
Forklifts are used on virtually all construction sites and allow workers to move heavy loads from one spot to another with little physical effort. These machines are responsible for reducing the incidents of many neck and back injuries caused by heavy lifting. However, defective forklifts have also contributed to a large number of accidents. Many forklift accidents can be attributed to a lack of proper training, carelessness, or negligence. However, a forklift is a large, complex machine that uses sophisticated principals of physics to transport loads; therefore, any defect in design or manufacturing can cause serious consequences the operator may not be prepared for or trained to handle.
For a forklift to be used safely and effectively it must include the following safety features:
- It must have an overhead guard that prevents a load or object from toppling over on the operator.
- The overhead guard must be wide enough to protect the operator.
- The overhead guard must not interfere with the operator's maneuverability or sight.
- Backrest extensions must be large enough to protect the operator from any falling load.
- All manufacturers are mandated to install operator restraint systems in new forklifts.
Manufacturers are also required to install new safety mechanisms on their forklifts as they are developed.
Dangerous and defective scaffolding can lead to catastrophic injuries. Recovering monetary compensation can make all the difference in that worker's ability to begin rebuilding and moving on. The term "scaffolding" refers to a temporary structure used to support workers during construction processes. A scaffold is a network of planks and frames connected by various types of couplers and bolts.
Some examples of scaffold types include the following:
- A single pole scaffold is made of a single row and is placed against the structure for support.
- A birdcage scaffold is made of two or more rows of vertical poles connected by transoms and ledgers.
- A suspended scaffold has a suspended framework.
- A cantilever scaffold is one that is supported at only one end.
OSHA enforces a detailed set of standards for the construction and installation of scaffolding. Manufacturers and construction site employers must follow these regulations to protect workers from scaffolding related accidents. Often, however, manufacturers and employers fail to adhere to OSHA's strict standards, resulting in serious accidents. OSHA's standards for scaffolding include provisions for size, design and stability of guardrails, footings, platforms, and protection systems as well as detailed provisions for erecting and dismantling the scaffolding.
Here are some of the provisions that affirm a scaffold's stability and safety:
- Workers 10 or more feet above a lower level must have a personal fall protection system.
- Scaffold footings must be even and strong enough to support the scaffold.
- Mid rails must be positioned halfway between the platform and top rail.
- The scaffold platform must be completely decked or planked.
- Scaffolds must be protected from tipping dangers during the use of guying ties.
- The height of top rails must be between 38 inches and 45 inches.
- Installation of a scaffold must be done by trained employees.
- A designated employee must thoroughly inspect the scaffold before beginning the day's shift.
- The erection and dismantling processes must be supervised by a competent person.
- Ropes and wires used in scaffolding must be sturdy, strong, and free of wear and tear.
Defective Tool Attorneys, Voted Best Lawyers in America
Every year, many work accidents are attributed to defective tools. Although workers may be trained to follow safety procedures, if ladders have broken rungs, hand tools come without safety devices, or nail guns lack safety features, there is little that can be done to prevent an accident. Arnold & Itkin can offer you skilled legal guidance if you or someone you love has been injured by a defective tool. Whether you were working on a home improvement project or are a construction worker who was injured on the job, one of our skilled lawyers can offer you knowledgeable insight regarding your legal options and rights at this point.
We rely on generators to keep the power running in the event of an outage. Unfortunately, if a generator is defective in any way, it may pose a serious risk to anyone in the vicinity.
Defective generators have caused dozens of deaths and serious health complications such as:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Burn injuries
- Electrocution / electrical shocks
- Other injuries
Spillage from a generator can result in a combustible environment. Generator defects can case fuel / fuel oils to leak, leading to fires and explosions. Defective parts can include painted fuel tanks capable of igniting in certain conditions, plastic fuel tanks that could spark a fire, and damaged fuel valves that can open and leak or spill. Generators that bypass regular household safety circuitry when connected to an electrical power outlet can pose electrocution hazards to people who are also using electrical outlets.
Portable household generators used in homes can pose a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas emitted through the burning of wood or kerosene or through combustion reactions of gas fueled generators and heaters. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, hypothermia, hallucinations, and even cardiac failure resulting in death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that at least 222 people have been killed in generator-related carbon monoxide poisonings between 2000 and 2005. The number of fatalities has risen with the increase in demand for generators.
The CPSC has approved new rules that require manufacturers of portable generators to put strong warning labels on the devices. The labels must warn consumers that the generator's exhaust can contain carbon monoxide, a known toxic gas that can have serious and adverse health effects. The warnings must also caution consumers about the hazards associated with using generators in enclosed spaces like rooms and garages.
Ladders are a basic piece of equipment on construction sites. However, due to inherent defects or flaws, some ladders put workers at risk of severe injuries. Every year at least 180,000 people visit emergency rooms for treatment of injuries sustained from ladder-related accidents.
Some of the most common causes for injuries related to ladders include:
- Rungs that bend at a weight below the maximum weight stipulated for that model.
- Telescoping extension ladders used to reach extra heights can be difficult to maneuver.
- Intricate locking or adjustment systems on extension ladders can cause hand and finger injuries.
- Some extendable ladders collapse too quickly and all at once, putting hands at a risk of injury.
- Insufficient traction, making the ladder prone to slipping and sliding.
Some of the most common accidents on a construction site are related to slip and fall accidents from ladders. Every day, workers risk injury as they climb elevated heights on extension ladders, rope ladders, and step ladders. An unstable ladder could tip over, hurtling a worker to the ground. Improperly spaced rungs can cause a worker to trip while ascending or descending the ladder and broken or cracked rungs and rails can cause a worker to lose his balance. A ladder may be considered defective if it has an unstable or weak frame that has worn with use.
Defective Nail Guns
In recent years nail guns have soared in popularity. They quickly became the favorite hand tool of do-it-yourself enthusiasts. This increase in popularity has come with greater frequency of nail gun related injuries. Approximately 42,000 people are injured using nail guns each year.
Injuries associated with nail guns include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Puncture Wounds - The major risks are tissue and nerve damage in the pierced area. There is also a risk of infection as the nail may transmit harmful bacteria and microbes into the body.
- Bone Injuries - If a nail hits a bone upon penetration the person may suffer bone injuries ranging from moderate to severe in intensity. Bone injuries caused by nails can also lead to severe inflammation of the affected bone. These infections result from bacteria introduced to the bone by the nail.
- Eye Injuries - One of the most serious injuries related to nail gun use is an eye injury. Even while using great caution a nail can ricochet, piercing sensitive regions of the face, including the eyes. Eye trauma resulting from such accidents can have a severe impact on a person's eyesight. In most cases surgical intervention is the only option.
- Brain Injuries - When nails are propelled at great velocity from a nail gun and penetrate the head, the impact and damage to the delicate nerve fibers of the brain can result in long term brain injuries.
A major cause of nail gun injuries is a design defect in the dual action firing system. Here, both the nose contact and hand trigger must be depressed simultaneously to allow the speedy delivery of the nails. Studies have shown this is partly responsible for a great number of related injuries. Nail guns with sequential trip mechanisms work when the nose contact element is depressed first, followed by the manual trigger. Such guns have been found to have less risk of accidents and injuries. Most nail guns, however, come with the simultaneous trigger mechanism.
Defective & Dangerous Power Tools
Power tools are widely used and contribute to making workers' jobs much easier. They are popular not only for the speed with which they can perform a task, but also for their precision and accuracy. However, defects in these tools can have a major impact on worker safety.
Types of dangerous power tools include the following:
- Shapers: These are usually linked to the sharpness and speed of the cutter. It is important to be aware of the radius around the cutter that poses the maximum risk of injuries. A shaper should come with a guard that must be used every time the machine is operated. Machine defects can manifest themselves in the form of clattering noises that signify looseness when the tool is operated. If the tongue washer is improperly installed, or the cutter is positioned improperly, the resulting injuries can be severe.
- Chain Saws: Chain saws are responsible for approximately 30% of all woodwork-related accidents. The absence of safety devices or anti-kickback devices on a chain saw can increase the possibility of these accidents. For instance, a chain brake can stop the chain in the event of a kickback. A hand guard can prevent a worker's hand from accidentally moving into the chain. Other safety devices like anti-kickback chains and throttle interlocks can prevent serious accidents.
Welding Rod Injuries
A welding rod is used to join or fuse two metal objects together. Welding rods are commonly used in workplaces, but, unfortunately, can be potentially extremely dangerous. As the metal is heated, the fumes that are emitted can be toxic and have serious effects on users' health. Chemicals like manganese, nickel, iron, aluminum, chromium, and cadmium have been shown to cause serious health-problems for those who have been exposed. However, out of these dangerous chemicals, manganese poisoning is most common. Although a small amount of manganese is essential, the welding process can lead to too much exposure. It can lead to kidney, liver, and nervous system damage and can also lead to Parkinson's disease, which effects the motor system.
Signs of manganese poisoning include: slurred speech, lack of balance, trouble with moving, and dementia. Although they can be treated, there is no cure for these diseases and they become progressively worse over time.
Table Saw Defects
Table saws are already a dangerous type of power tool. Equipped with sharp blades moving at an incredibly fast speed, these tools need to be fully equipped for safety before use. The circular blade is propelled by a motor, and the blade is typically situated with part of it sticking above the table and part of it below the table. This blade can be moved up or down to make precision cuts. One type of table saw is the benchtop table saw. These are lightweight because they are made to be transported between jobsites. There are contractor table saws that are heavier and used for industrial purposes. The last two are cabinet and hybrid circular saws. Although these saws are all outfitted to perform different functions, they are all highly dangerous. Even the slightest defect in design, marketing or manufacturing can result in serious injury.
WHAT IS KICKBACK & WHEN IS IT MY FAULT?
"Kickback" is a term used to describe what happens when the blade of a circular saw catches on the material being cut and spits it out in the direction of the operator. Kickbacks are notorious for being severe and even fatal. There are three major causes of kickback, some of which can be avoided. The first cause is when the wood that is being cut actually pinches the blade. Although difficult to predict, it can be avoided.
Most table saws have what is called an anti-kickback. Anyone attempting to raise the blade while a cut is in process must use this, or else they risk having the wood thrown back at them.
The next type of kickback can be avoided with feeder wheels. If the wood shifts positions while a cut is being made and tried to put back in place while the blade is still moving, kickback can happen.
The third major cause of kickback is when the wood gets pinched between the back of the blade and the fence. This can be prevented by spacing the rear and the fence further apart, which improves overall safety. Users of these machines should take care to understand the dangers as well as proper safety techniques for using them. If a user could have prevented kickback, the manufacturer of the table saw may not be held liable. However, if there was a defect with the wheels or the anti-kickback, for example, the manufacturer may be at fault. There are additional safety features for table saws that can be purchased, such as automatic braking and a dust extractor.
SAW BENCH RECALLS
DeWalt had to recall some of their table saws because of a laceration hazard. Consumers had been complaining that the pivot can separate, causing the wood to misalign and result in kickback. Although no injuries were reported, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one malfunction is all it takes because this type of defect is so serious in nature. The models that were recalled were the DeWalt DW744 Jobsite Table Saw. Robert Bosch Tool Corporation back in 2004 also issued a recall of table saws, about 120,000 of them because of kickback problems. Ryobi and Milwaukee are other product manufacturers who have had some of their circular saw units recalled. If you were injured in this way, our firm would be happy to discuss your case with you. Often, a thorough examination of your unit is necessary.
Defective Office Equipment: Nationwide Counsel from Top Trial Attorneys
It wouldn't seem as if you face many dangers in your office space in day-to-day life at your workplace, but actually you could be at risk for injury without ever stepping outside. Office equipment that is faulty and defective can actually be the cause of many accidents and in the past it has led to recalls. There are many office supplies lying around offices just like yours that pose a threat that you may never have thought about.
Many offices come equipped with things like paper cutters, industrial strength staplers and box cutters, among other things. While proper use of these objects in most cases will prevent injury, some products are actually manufactured faulty which can cause serious injury. Even things like desks and cubicles can be manufactured poorly. If you were injured by an office desk then you may be entitled to compensation.
Recalled Office Chairs
Most Americans sit in them for eight hours each day and don't think anything of it, but some office chairs pose a possible risk. Office chairs, like any other consumer product, run the risk of breaking. When is a broken chair the fault of the manufacturer and when is it the consumer's fault? Most consumer products come with warning labels on them. Some chairs might have a weight limit and others may have hazard warnings. If a consumer has not ignored these warnings but the chair still breaks and causes injury, they may be entitled to a personal injury claim.
Recently, thousands of office chairs have been recalled by Office Depot® due to a potential fall hazard.
The company's Biella leather desk chair was recalled after reports that it posed a fall hazard. On these particular chairs, the welding that connected the seat to the gas lift could fail. This caused the chair base to separate from the seat. Before the recall, the company had received 11 reports of injury from the chair. This is not the only kind of office chair that might pose a safety hazard to consumers. If you were injured by a chair and you believe that it was the fault of the manufacturing company then you may be able to seek a claim with the help of Arnold & Itkin.
Understanding Liability for Defective Equipment
OSHA provides guidelines for equipment specifications. These are not restricted to powered tools and machinery, but also regular equipment found around the workplace. For instance, temporary stairways on a construction site are required to have landings that are at least 22 inches wide and 30 inches deep, at every 12 feet of rising, and stairways must be clear of projections. Fixed ladders also have minimum weight support capabilities they must meet before they are used. Employers are required to provide equipment that meets these specifications.
When a worker is injured by defective equipment, the manufacturer of the equipment may be named in a lawsuit to claim damages for the injury. If the equipment was rented, then the company that rented out the equipment may also be liable. Companies that are in charge of oversight of work are required to make sure that any equipment being used by the workers meets all recommended standards and specifications.
Who's Responsible for an Injury Caused by Machine or Equipment Malfunction?
If your employer carries workers' compensation insurance, you can file a workers' compensation claim that will entitle you to medical and wage benefits, regardless of who is at fault for your injury. If your employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, then you would have a "non-subscriber claim." That would allow you to bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if the machine-related injury was attributable to your employer's negligence, such as failing to inspect and maintain the machine or to provide you with proper training. If you succeed in your claim, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, disfigurement, pain and suffering and, possibly, punitive damages.
Additionally, you may pursue a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the machine if a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect caused your injury.
The machinery that is used in an industrial workplace is often large and extremely hazardous. Workers need to take the greatest precautions in handling them. If you were injured by a machine malfunction, you are likely suffering from serious injuries such as cuts, amputation, burns, or fractures. If a machine defect is at issue, it is important to seek skilled and aggressive legal assistance from a trustworthy attorney.
While any firm might be able to handle a machine malfunction injury claim, you need one that will provide the resources required to investigate what happened to you. Our equipment defect attorneys are ready to do what it takes to hold all responsible parties accountable. Call (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation.
Defective Equipment FAQ
Who Is Responsible for My Injuries?
The law requires employers to follow specific requirements for maintaining a safe workplace. This means that all employers are responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and operating safe machinery in their workplaces. However, other parties—such as the manufacturer of the defective equipment—might be liable for your accident as well.
Should I Accept A Settlement from My Company?
Not without speaking to an experienced lawyer. Settlements are often designed by companies or their insurers to get a person to accept less than they deserve and prevent them from pursuing further damages. Speaking with an attorney will help you decide if your settlement offer is fair. It’ll also help you find out if you are entitled to more damages than what you initially may have thought.
What Can I Recover from a Defective Equipment Lawsuit?
Our defected equipment lawsuit lawyers are focused on two things: obtaining the compensation that clients deserve and holding negligent parties accountable. Our team will fight to recover losses associated with your accident such as lost wages, medical bills, and the cost of any future treatment you’ll require. Every case is different and speaking with us as soon as possible will help you understand your options.
Contact Our Defective Equipment Law Firm: (888) 493-1629!
We have seen how profound of an impact this type of injury can have on a person. If you recently suffered from defective equipment in an accident that could have been prevented, you deserve to have the best attorney behind you. At Arnold & Itkin, we want workers to have answers. More importantly, we want workers and their families to be able to rebuild their lives after a devastating accident. Our priority is ensuring that you have the resources to get medical care, provide for your family, and pay your bills. Our secondary goal is to hold the employer or manufacturer accountable for their negligence—preventing your accident from happening again.
In many ways, this second goal is as fulfilling and necessary for you as the first—many of our clients fight to make sure that their injury wasn’t for nothing. Ensuring the safety of other workers is the most fulfilling work we can imagine, and many of our past clients have agreed.
Contact our law firm today if you would like to discuss your case in more depth: (888) 493-1629. We're here to help.