According to the most recent statistics from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), 5,250 workers died while working in 2018. While regulations enforced by OSHA has played a crucial role in keeping workers safe throughout the United States, the agency only has a handful of inspectors dedicated to inspecting the millions of worksites across the nation.
Some of the most common places that workers are injured or killed are in the factories of the United States. Dangerous machinery, fast-paced environments, and other hazards make factory work require constant adherence to safety standards. Understanding common types of factory accidents helps workers understand what to watch for at their job and helps employers ensure their factories are safe. Industrial accidents are as preventable as they are devastating, so every employer should take the steps needed to prevent accidents such as the following.
Equipment & Machinery Accidents
Machinery is crucial to the functionality of factories. However, it can be as dangerous as it is efficient to operate. Workers can become entangled in equipment and sustain severe injuries as a result. Additionally, many factories utilize forklifts during daily tasks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forklift accidents killed 614 people and injured over 7,000 people between 2011 and 2017. Employers must ensure that all workers who use forklifts have the training required to operate them safely.
When employers try to save money by neglecting the maintenance of their equipment, workers suffer the most from accidents this behavior causes. Maintenance issues are dangerous, whether they involve poorly maintained machinery, vehicles, or even the building that houses the factory. Employers should never allow workers to rely on equipment that has been neglected or overused.
Slip & Fall Accidents
A worker can slip and fall because of various reasons. Unsafe facility design, unlevel flooring, and unsafe ladders and climbing equipment can cause slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents are particularly dangerous when they cause someone to hit their head on a hard surface. This can cause a traumatic brain injury, leading to death or a lifetime of impaired functioning.
When employers work their employees for long hours, they can cause them to experience exhaustion. Fatigued employees are more likely to make mistakes that can lead to injury for them or coworkers. These accidents are never acceptable because it's always an employer's responsibility to make sure workers are rested and have the support needed to safely do their job.
Employers are responsible for making sure enough workers are present to do heavy lifting at a factory. They must ensure that the proper lifting equipment is available and working to assist with large or heavy objects. No employer should expect their factory workers to risk injury because they didn’t provide the right equipment or failed to staff properly. Back injuries aren't just painful, they can alter a person's ability to work for the rest of their life.
Since many factories produce their products using chemicals, exposure is a serious risk for workers. Workers can be exposed to chemicals because of a lack of proper protective equipment. Sometimes, pipes and machinery that are in disrepair can cause workers to unexpectedly receive chemical exposure injuries. Some substances in manufacturing, such as hydrofluoric acid, can cause workers to sustain injuries simply from inhaling it briefly. So, it’s important that factories manage chemical safety standards with extreme care.
Since factories have high walkways and ceilings, falling objects from them can be deadly for employees on lower levels. Employers must ensure that high items are properly secured throughout every part of a factory. When they fail to do so, workers can sustain blunt force trauma injuries or crushing injuries because of an unexpected falling item.
Call Arnold & Itkin for Help After a Factory Accident
At Arnold & Itkin, our team of factory accident lawyers is proud to fight for the compensation that workers deserve after suffering from a preventable accident. Countless times, we’ve seen employers fail to provide a safe workplace and then try to escape accountability as workers suffer from medical bills and lost wages. Our team has recovered billions of dollars for clients, and we’re ready to fight for you.
Call us today at (888) 493-1629 to have a free consultation with a member of our team.