Machinery accidents can cause great harm. These accidents often involve an employee being crushed by a piece of machinery or being trapped in or pinned by it. Due to the risks associated with using heavy machinery, workers should be properly trained on the equipment before using it. To prevent machinery accidents, equipment should be well maintained.
Heavy machinery poses a safety risk for equipment operators and other workers, especially in the construction industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that approximately 150,000 construction workers are injured each year. Thirty-five percent of workplace injuries and 14 percent of work-related deaths are caused by machine accidents. It is important for both workers and employers to understand the hazards of working with heavy machinery and the appropriate precautionary measures to take.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are four leading causes of construction industry fatalities referred to as “the fatal four”. The fatal four are: falls, struck by object, electrocutions and caught in/between accidents. Seventy-five percent of these fatal work accidents involve heavy machinery. However, workers on construction sites are at risk of sustaining injury from many different causes, including the following hazards.
First, workers may be struck by falling materials or other objects such as heavy machinery or vehicles. Second, workers may also be injured when they are out of an equipment operator’s line of vision or when an equipment operator fails to set the brakes or chock the wheels. Third, heavy machinery may not be properly locked/tagged out during maintenance, causing serious injury to unaware workers. Finally, workers may get caught in/between equipment with unguarded or rotating parts; this type of accident accounts for seven percent of construction worker deaths.
Employers have a duty to provide their employees with a safe and healthful work environment. Workers should also take an active role in workplace safety in order to reduce workplace accidents. Operating heavy machinery is highly technical; to do so safely requires training and experience. Ensuring that workers are properly trained can help prevent accidents. Heavy machinery requires regular inspection and maintenance. These procedures should be done after performing lockout/tagout procedures to prevent workers from being exposed to hazardous energy.
It is important to communicate safe work practices to employees. Inform workers about the safety procedures for handling heavy equipment and put administrative controls in place to minimize the risk of injury. Workers must be provided with personal protective equipment and equip heavy machinery with rollover protective structure (ROPS).
Also, a limited access zone or swing radius around heavy machinery so workers do not get inadvertently injured must be clearly designated. When workers are under pressure to meet deadlines, they are more likely to get in accidents. Encourage workers to take the time to complete all tasks safely. Extra attention is required when working with heavy machinery due to their potential to cause work-related deaths.
For more information and enhance your company’s fall protection program this spring and summer contact HURT-511 and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.
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