Billions Won by Nationwide Industrial Accident Attorneys
After the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the number of workplace hazards have been reduced. When work-related threats are kept in check, employees are less likely to be hurt. The mix of OSHA, improvements for safety equipment, and increased monitoring of workplace environments has led to much safer workplaces today. Even so, more efforts need to be made to counter the hundreds of thousands of electrocutions, slip and fall accidents, chemical burns, and scaffolding accidents, as well as injuries sustained from falling objects, flying debris, and defective machinery that still occur every year. Many of these hazards result in serious workplace injuries yearly.
However, workplace safety is an ever-growing industry.
One man or woman dying on the job due to unsafe work practices is one too many, but the reality is that there are hundreds of men and women who die and thousands more who are injured every year due to unsafe work environments. This is unacceptable, and it is dire that employees understand the potential work hazards that they face in their job environments. If you’ve been injured by a workplace hazard, your employer may be compelled to pay for your medical care, lost income, and basic needs while you recover. If the injury is permanent, you may be able to secure compensation for the rest of your life. All it takes to learn about your case is a free phone call with our industrial accident lawyers.
Contact Arnold & Itkin today for a free case consultation. We can help you make the next step with confidence.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Hazards?
Some of the most common hazards that industrial employees face include:
- Defective Equipment: In some work environments, the general understanding for employees is that they “use a tool until it no longer works.” Although a boss may never say something that straightforward, what they do say is, “We don’t have money to replace (insert damaged tool here) and if it gets the job done, why replace it?” When an employer says this to an employee, they are communicating that the employee’s safety is not as important as the money that would be spent on replacing the tool. This can lead to wounds caused by defective equipment, which stretch far beyond the ones that can be fixed with a Band-Aid. Industrial accidents involving defective equipment often result in amputations, crushing injuries, and other severe trauma.
- Toxic Exposure: Although OSHA outlines exposure limits for various chemicals in workplace settings, new hires are not always trained on these safety standards. There have been various law cases were workers were asked to dump or use chemicals in way against OSHA’s standards. As a rule of thumb, if a worker does not understand the makeup of the chemical they are using, they should not be using it until they receive clarification on safe-use practices. If employees choose to use the chemicals without proper handling knowledge, or if they are ill-informed of the risks, they could end up with irritations, burns, or deadly diseases.
- Unsafe Machinery: In reality, most any machine in a construction site or development plant could be used unsafely. When workers are cutting, pounding, and shaping raw materials, there are always inherent risks. However, proper safety training, up-to-date safety equipment, and correct usage of these machines will drastically minimize the inherent risks that these machines pose. Too often, machinists use the same machine while not fully understanding how it operates. If an employee understands what a machine does and is able to use it correctly, but does not understand how it works, this can arguably mean they are not properly trained. Understanding how a machine works helps employees understand what they need to look for when assessing the machine’s health. One loose screw, one broken setting, and one button is all it takes for a machine to break down and potentially hurt someone. Employers need to be held responsible to train employees in how a machine works so that employees stay safe.
Injury from Falling Objects
Workers are often at risk of heavy objects falling. These accidents occur due to a lack of communication that prevents workers from being warned when work is going on overhead, when loads are being moved or secured improperly, or when protective head gear is not worn.
Causes of Injuries from Falling Objects
- Inadequate signage warning about work going on overhead
- Falling objects dropped by workers at a higher level
- Objects falling from construction scaffolding and platforms
- Dropped hand tools and equipment being used on a higher level
- Loose boxes or other objects that get displaced and fall off from stacked merchandise
- Improperly secured loads being lifted or carried overhead, leading to objects getting dislodged
Anytime a work environment is multi-leveled, workers who are underneath other employees are at risk from falling objects. These kinds of injuries are usually easy to prevent, but, at times, simplicity overrides safety. The extra time that it takes to secure a pile of bricks or to move an object in a perilous position may be deemed as “unnecessary work.” This can lead employees to make unsafe decisions because they were told by their employer that there was no time to worry about potential risks.
Prevention of Accidents from Falling Objects
- Canopies or nets must be used to catch any falling objects
- Any loads that must be lifted to a high position must be secured properly with strong restraints
- If a load is placed on a construction scaffold, there must be secured guardrails
- Workers must be discouraged from lifting loads or lowering them over other workers’ heads
- All precautions must be taken to prevent materials from falling from a platform while they are being stacked
- When any overhead work is going on, workers below must be given sufficient warning with signs or barricades
- Workers must be provided protective equipment (ex: hardhats) to protect them from injuries
Have You Been Injured by Flying Debris?
Many industrial workers are commonly exposed to flying debris. Flying debris can cause eye, head, and ear injuries. Small pieces of construction debris in the form of cement fragments, wood chips and shavings, or pieces of brick can be dislodged and dispersed into the air at great speed. Injury from flying debris is common in the logging industry where slivers of wood may be discharged at high speed from machines such as saws and wood chippers. Workers who are at risk for eye and head injuries in the logging industry include buckers, chippers, and fellers. In fact, the danger from flying debris is found in almost all logging operations. Workers may also be injured by metal slivers when they are involved in welding and other metalworking activities. Workers should always put on safety goggles before returning to their jobs, and if employers do not provide goggles or face masks for jobs that require them, the employer could be held accountable for any eye injury that occurs.
Common Injuries Caused by Flying Debris
- Eye Injuries: The US Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that 2,000 eye injuries occur every day. Of these, 70% are caused by flying debris. Flying debris particles can include gritty dust, wood shavings, glass pieces, etc. Foreign objects that enter a worker’s eyes can injure the retina, causing bleeding, swelling, and bruising of eye muscles. Emergency attention is extremely important.
- Ear Injuries: Small pieces of debris like wood chips can enter the ear and get lodged inside because of the high speeds at which they are discharged, causing serious ear injuries.
- Head Injuries: Workers in the construction, logging, or mining industries are at increased risk of being struck by larger pieces of flying debris that can cause head injuries.
Tips for Preventing Flying Debris Injuries
Employers are required to provide appropriate personal protective gear to protect against injuries caused by flying debris. Protective equipment includes head protection gear such as hard hats, as well as eye and face protection. Safety glasses can protect workers who are involved in woodworking, metalworking and machining, or grinding from accidents.
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) approves only those safety glasses that have attached side shields. They include both plastic and polycarbonate lenses tough enough to meet industrial safety requirements. Safety goggles offer more protection than safety glasses against injury from flying debris. Besides protecting from flying debris, safety goggles also protect eyes from toxic exposure from splashing liquids.
Workplace Hazards FAQ
What should I do if I notice a hazard at work?
If you notice a hazardous situation at work, the most important thing you can do is to speak up. Tell your supervisor or manager. Ideally, inform him or her in writing, so you have a record of your complaint. Your safety and the safety of your co-workers depend on people like you making hazards known so they can be fixed. You have the right to report safety violations and hazards without fear of retaliation by your employer. If you’re fired, demoted, or suspended because you report a hazard, talk to an attorney about your rights. You could get your job back and may be entitled to additional damages.
Can my employer be held liable for workplace hazards?
Generally speaking, employers are not held liable for workplace hazards because on-the-job injuries fall under workers’ compensation, which provides medical care and financial support on a no-fault basis. This means workers are covered regardless of who may be to blame. If gross negligence or intentional misconduct are involved, however, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against your employer. The same applies if someone other than your employer or someone you work with caused the accident. A third party can be subject to a personal injury, wrongful death, or product liability lawsuit.
No matter what, there is a path to justice, and our team at Arnold & Itkin can find it for you.
What should I do if I have been injured on the job?
If you or a loved one was injured by a workplace hazard and you believe that it was preventable, contact our industrial injury attorneys immediately for a free consultation. Time is of the essence, as employers are sometimes informed by insurance agencies to get rid of incriminating evidence that caused work-related injuries. Our firm goes into work environments and assesses why someone got hurt so that we can find out who should be held responsible for the trauma our client received. We seek after the truth of who is at fault in work-related accidents. of who is at fault in work-related accidents.
If you would like to learn more about workplace hazards and how it can affect your claim, contact us for a free consultation. You pay nothing unless you receive compensation!