Heavy Machinery Can Lead To An Unsafe Working Environment

Unsafe Working Environment

Companies that have their employees and contractors work with heavy equipment or have employees supervising workers in a business with heavy machinery should be aware of the inherent risks associated with the tasks. Understanding the threats and taking the necessary precautions to mitigate them can keep people safe.

Almost every manufacturing company and construction site in every industry makes use of machinery in some capacity. This can include anything from large industrial turbines to a hand grinder. However, regardless of size, machinery has one thing in common, it has risks that lead to an unsafe work environment. The hazards associated with workplace machinery are enormously complex and can lead to serious injuries.

What Is Considered Heavy Machinery?

Heavy machinery is any piece of equipment or machine that requires special training to operate. Additionally, heavy machinery refers to any type of vehicle that weighs more than 5,000 pounds and requires more than one person to operate. Cars, tractors, trucks, buses, forklifts, and other industrial vehicles that require special training or licensing to operate are included. Basically, if it is operational and requires training, it is considered heavy machinery.

Some of the most common heavy machinery is seen on construction sites and at manufacturing plants.

Examples of heavy machinery that most people recognize include:

  • Bulldozers
  • Cranes
  • Excavators
  • Forklift
  • Grinders
  • Rock trucks
  • Scrapers

Any of these can range in size from a small vehicle or more handheld like a grinder or jack-knife, to large cranes the size of a bridge or building. However, size is not important to the classification or training. The important thing is that there is training for this equipment. Most pieces of heavy machinery will not be able to be operated by a person that does not have training and, in most instances, a license of some sort.

What Types of Jobs Work With Heavy Machinery?

On construction sites, construction and heavy equipment operators use machinery such as bulldozers and piledrivers to complete various tasks. Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators, piledriver operators, operating engineers, and other construction equipment operators are all possible careers that use heavy machinery.

The companies that own and/or operate heavy equipment are responsible for maintaining and repairing it. All heavy machinery operators must be trained and knowledgeable of operating all heavy equipment and in how to transfer or manipulate materials using such equipment. Those that work with heavy machinery work in dangerous environments that can become unsafe if when the employer or site operator does not properly train them.

How Can Heavy Machinery Create An Unsafe Work Environment?

Any location that has heavy machinery has potential hazards and is deemed an unsafe environment.  Machinery can fail or malfunction, and human error is always a possibility when improperly trained, untrained, and/or negligent workers are operating such equipment which can make a work environment unsafe.

Many unsafe equipment accidents are the result of careless operators, a failure to maintain equipment, a failure to train, a failure to supervise, a failure to follow proper safety procedures, or a manufacturing defect in the equipment. However, in all cases, it is the owner’s responsibility to maintain the equipment and properly train and supervise operators on how to use it.

When heavy machinery is not properly maintained, when a user is not properly trained, or used if they are unsupervised, it can lead to an unsafe working environment. An unsafe work environment can then lead to work injuries.

Common Heavy Machinery Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy equipment accidents kill over 800 people and injure over 18,000 others in the United States each year.

When operating heavy machinery at work, even the smallest error or oversight can result in a devastating accident. The manner in which the accident occurs determines the severity of the resulting injuries. Accidents such as being pinned under the machine, falling off a piece of equipment, or being struck with a heavy piece of machinery can lead to catastrophic injuries, which can lead to fatalities or permanent disability.

The most common heavy equipment injuries include:

  • Deep lacerations
  • Crushed or broken bones
  • Concussions or other head or brain injuries
  • Spinal cord and back injury
  • Internal bleeding
  • Amputations
  • Nerve damages

Each injury is unique and is determined by the type of heavy equipment that the worker was operating or working near at the time of the incident. Even if a worker has ensured that the heavy equipment they are using is safe, the equipment itself can be faulty or malfunction, resulting in tragic consequences.

Filing A Claim After A Heavy Machinery Accident

When a worker sustains a serious injury while using heavy machinery, an experienced work injury lawyer can investigate whether the equipment had a flaw or defect that caused or contributed to the incident. In some cases, a defect is obvious, while in others, it is not. An experienced personal injury attorney can examine the equipment with an expert to determine whether there were any inherent flaws that contributed to the accident.

With the help of an attorney, you may have a legal claim against multiple people or companies after a heavy machinery workplace accident.

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