Workplace Accidents Caused by Machinery
Workplace accidents caused by machinery can have severe consequences for both workers and companies. There are approximately 800 fatalities and 18,000 severe injuries due to machinery-related accidents in the U.S. each year. Speak with a Waco workplace injury attorney who can assess your case to determine the potentially liable parties and help you hold them accountable.
Common Types of Machinery-Related Accidents
The following types of machinery-related accidents commonly result in severe worker injuries, loss of life, and significant economic costs:
Malfunctioning or poorly maintained machinery can lead to accidents. Defective parts, worn-out components, or inadequate repairs can cause sudden breakdowns, leading to injuries for operators or nearby workers.
Machinery with moving parts, such as conveyor belts, presses, or power tools, can pose entanglement risks. Loose clothing, jewelry, or body parts can get caught in the machine, resulting in severe injuries or even amputations.
Heavy machinery, forklifts, cranes, or vehicles used in workplaces can cause accidents due to collisions with workers, stationary objects, or other vehicles. Lack of proper training, poor visibility, or reckless operation can contribute to such incidents.
Machinery that operates at heights, such as cranes or overhead conveyor systems, can result in falling objects if not properly secured. These falling objects pose a significant risk to workers below, potentially causing head trauma, fractures, or fatal injuries.
Pinch Points and Crushing Hazards
Machinery often consists of moving parts and mechanisms that create pinch points and crushing hazards. If body parts or extremities come into contact with these hazardous areas, it can result in severe injuries, fractures, or amputations.
Who Is Liable for a Workplace Accident Caused by Machinery?
Determining liability in a workplace accident caused by machinery depends on various factors, including the specific circumstances surrounding the incident. In general, multiple parties may be liable, including:
Some employers provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that injured workers are generally entitled to benefits such as medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In exchange for receiving these benefits, workers typically give up their right to sue their employer for negligence.
However, if your employer does not carry it, you may have the right to sue. Employers are legally responsible for providing a safe working environment for their employees. They are responsible for implementing safety protocols, providing proper training, maintaining machinery, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations. If an employer fails to fulfill these obligations, they may be liable for the accident.
If the accident resulted from a defect in the machinery itself, such as a design flaw or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer and other parties involved in the machinery’s distribution chain may be liable.
Maintenance and Repair Contractors
If a third-party contractor was responsible for the machinery’s maintenance, repair, or servicing and their negligence or improper work contributed to the accident, they may be liable.
Negligent Third Parties
In certain situations, a third party unrelated to the employer or co-workers may be liable for the accident. For instance, if a subcontractor or supplier of faulty parts caused the accident.
Determining liability in a workplace accident caused by machinery can be complex, and it often requires a thorough investigation and legal analysis. If you have been involved in such an accident, consult a workplace injury lawyer at Craft Law Firm as soon as possible.