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Workplace Hazards

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.

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.

If you would like to learn more about workplace hazards and how it can affect your claim, contact Arnold & Itkin for a free consultation. You pay nothing unless you receive compensation for your claim!

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $171Million One of the Largest Confidential Settlements in History Arnold & Itkin worked over the course of several years to represent clients in a case that many other law firms turned down. In the end, we were able to obtain a record-setting confidential settlement of $171 million.
  • $97Million Massive Settlement Secured for Refinery Workers Arnold & Itkin is proud to share that after months of preparation for trial, our firm was able to secure a huge settlement for clients who were injured in a refinery fire. Find out more now.
  • $44Million The Largest Verdict Ever Won for an Amputee Victim Arnold & Itkin represented a construction superintendent who required a leg amputation after a crane collapse. At the time of the collapse, our client had been standing behind a safety fence 100 feet away when a fallen piece of crane equipment pinned him down. Our firm got him the largest award ever given in a case involving loss of limb, including $8.5 million in punitive damages.
  • $39.7Million Record Verdict Won for Victim of Industrial Accident Attorneys Kyle Findley, Kala Sellers, and Adam Lewis obtained a record $39.744 million verdict on behalf of a client who was burned in a severe dust fire and explosion at a plywood plant in Corrigan, TX.
  • $18.5Million Second Verdict Won for 4 Victims of Geismar Explosion In our second trial on behalf of victims of the 2013 plant explosion in Geismar, LA, Arnold & Itkin won a massive verdict for 4 workers and their families. The verdict will go toward providing the extensive care they have required in the years since the explosion as well as the care they will need for the rest of their lives. This was the second of 2 massive verdicts Arnold & Itkin won against Williams Companies, Inc.
  • $15.5Million Massive Verdict Won for Geismar Explosion Victims Arnold & Itkin won a landmark verdict against Williams Companies, Inc. and child company Williams Olefins LLC for their part in the 2013 explosion that killed 2 workers and injured over 100 more. Williams Companies tried to blame the incident on their limited liability shell company, but the jury saw through the defense. They awarded 95% of the blame to Williams Companies, Inc. and gave our clients the money they needed for medical care.
  • $13.7Million Massive Settlement Won Only Months After Injury Arnold & Itkin represented a plant worker who was seriously injured in an accident on the job. Plant injuries are often complex, taking years to fully investigate and litigate. Fortunately, our firm’s work was able to secure a multi-million dollar settlement mere months after the injury took place. Now our client’s medical expenses and other needs are taken care of for the rest of his life.
  • $12Million Injured Worker Received Settlement for Burn Injuries Our industrial injury lawyers have recently recovered $12 million on behalf of a plant worker who suffered burns when a safety valve failed at the refinery where he was employed. His settlement will go toward providing him with extensive and long-term medical care. His employer chose to settle his case two weeks before trial was set to begin.
  • $11.7Million Settlement Won for Plant Worker Injured During Turnaround Attorneys Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin successfully recovered $11.75 million on behalf of a man who was injured while working a turnaround at an industrial plant. He was injured because he and his team were not informed of the plant’s dangers, and his family turned to Arnold & Itkin shortly afterward. Our team was able to get him money for his present and future medical expenses less than a year after he was injured.
  • $11.6Million Verdict Secured for a Worker Partially Blinded on the Job Our client was only offered $300,000 by the defendant for his near-total loss of sight in one eye, but the jury only deliberated for less than 2 days before they found the defendant guilty of defective equipment design. They gave our client an award of $11.6 million.
  • $4.97Million Settlement Reached for Orthopaedic Injury Victim Our team worked to represent a client who was severely injured while working at a chemical plant. He was performing construction and maintenance work at the time of the incident. In the end, our firm was successful in settling the case for $4.97 million.
  • $4.8Million Verdict Won for Bereaved Daughter Kurt Arnold recovered $4.8 million for a client whose father was killed after suffering a severe head injury in Port Arthur, Texas. Winning justice for grieving clients is a primary reason we became lawyers, and it's our honor to help clients like this one receive help.
  • $4Million Victim of Plant Explosion Received Millions in Settlement Arnold & Itkin attorneys represented a Mississippi man who was severely injured in a Texas refinery plant explosion. Cases like these require a high level of experience and investigative resources due to the myriad factors involved in a plant explosion. Our attorneys are proud to have helped our client receive a settlement of $4,000,000.
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