Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Machinery AmputationsMarch 5, 2017
Jobs that require the operation of machinery, such as those in construction, agriculture, longshoring, and many others, have higher injury rates than other industries. Workers are especially at risk if the machines they are using do not have the proper guarding. In addition to injuries such as broken bones, burns, and lacerations, certain machines can result in amputations if the guards are not properly secured. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed safety standards that address this issue in an effort to protect employees from amputation hazards.
Machines that have conveyor belts are particularly hazardous if proper safety measures have not been taken. In May of 2016, an employee working in a plant in Delaware was breaking apart ice blocks when he fell into an unguarded conveyor. Due to the severity of his injuries, he had to have both of his legs amputated below the knee. A few years earlier, another employee at the same factory had to have his foot amputated after it touched a conveyer. After investigating the incident, OSHA determined that the openings on the conveyer were too large and that the guard was inadequate.
OSHA officials stress the importance of proper training for employees working with machinery. One of the first things employees must be able to do is to recognize the potential hazards associated with the machines they are using. When employees have a thorough understanding of the components of the machinery, and the hazardous motion that occurs in the vicinity of these components, they are more likely to avoid injury.
Hazardous Mechanical Components
- Point of Operation: This is the area of the machine that performs the actual work, such as cutting, shaping, boring, and forming.
- Power-Transmission Apparatus: This is any component of the machine that transmits energy, including flywheels, pulleys, belts, chains, connecting rods, spindles, and gears.
- Other Moving Parts: This includes any other part of the machine that moves while the machine is being used, including reciprocating, rotating and transverse moving parts.
Tips to Prevent Amputations
When working with or near heavy machinery, safety must be a top priority at all times. The following recommendations will help employees stay safe and avoid serious workplace injuries, including amputations.
- Use of proper machine guards: These provide a physical barrier between the employee and the machine, preventing him or her from getting too close to hazardous machine parts.
- Devices: These protect the employee by preventing human contact with points of operation. For example, a machine equipped with a laser sensor can shut the machine down when a hand or finger gets too close.
- Training: It is imperative that all employees be properly trained on how to use potentially dangerous equipment.
- Do Not Skip Safeguards. When an employee skips an important safety step in order to get the job done more quickly, the risk of injury increases significantly.
- Do not allow workers under the age of 18 to operate dangerous machinery.
- Lockout/Tagout: This type of program can help prevent the machine from accidentally starting while an employee is servicing it. It also will not let an employee try to fix a glitch or clear a jam while the machine is in use.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Amputation Victims
If you were involved in a work-related accident that resulted in an amputation or other catastrophic injury, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will do everything in our power to secure the maximum compensation you deserve to help cover the costs associated with your injuries, including lost wages. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.