The construction industry would be no where without power tools and heavy machinery. While this equipment is essential to getting the job done in a quick and efficient manner, it comes with a range of safety and health risks. If anything goes wrong during the process, the effects can be disastrous. Injuries from faulty equipment can affect your future ability to work in your chosen profession as well as your health, and those who financially depend on you. The construction site can be host to many different potentially dangerous and hazardous conditions and adding in the possibility of equipment malfunction makes it even worse.
Equipment should be inspected on a regular basis for faulty or damaged parts. Contractors should always follow safety precautions when operating heavy machinery. However, even with these preventive measures, accidents happen and equipment malfunctions go unnoticed or don’t give any warning. Common problems include:
- Worn or broken parts: Worn and damaged parts can not only break off or affect how the machine functions, causing falling loads or machine jams
- Electrical malfunction: Electrical malfunctions could cause the machinery to move or operate uncontrollably
- Possibility of collapse: Large equipment such as cranes that are bearing too much weight or unbalanced can collapse or fall and crush anything below
- Safety features: Safety features that fail put the operator at high risk of injury
Common Injuries from Construction Equipment Malfunction
Injuries caused by faulty equipment can be serious and even deadly because of the size and power of this machinery. These accidents can result in long term disabilities, continuous medical expenses, and emotional trauma. Possible injuries include:
- Serious lacerations
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Blunt force trauma
Heavy Machinery Safety Precautions
There are preventative measures and things workers can do to help prevent injury and harm. If everyone makes safety the number one goal, workplace conditions can be greatly improved. Always follow safety rules and take precautions in the case of equipment malfunction and stay alert and always on the look out for signs of faults or problems. Make sure to inform a supervisor immediately if any machinery appears to be operating incorrectly. If you are injured while working, remember to report the injury immediately to your supervisor. Giving notice of injury is an essential step in the workers’ compensation process that will allow your employer to provide you with appropriate medical care.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides some other key work practices for heavy equipment operation:
- All vehicles must have working brakes, headlights, and audible warning device
- All operator must be thoroughly trained on the equipment they will use
- Vehicles must be checked at the beginning of each shift for safe operation
- Never operate a vehicle in reverse with an obstructed rear view
- Vehicles loaded from the top must have cab shields or canopies
- Vehicles must have seats and working seat belts
- Equipment should have roll-over protection from falling debris hazards
- Verify that a roadway can accommodate equipment before accessing it
- Never modify equipment or safety features without manufacturer’s approval
Legal Help for Injured Construction Workers
Even the most careful and experienced construction worker can suffer injuries from accidents and faulty equipment. If you suffered an injury from machinery malfunction, you may be eligible for compensation to account for medical costs and lost wages. In fact, you may qualify for workers’ compensation even if you were partly at fault for the incident. New Jersey is a no-fault state, which means victims do not need to prove fault to receive benefits. In exchange, workers do not have the right to pursue a personal lawsuit against their employer in relation to the incident.
On the other hand, if you were injured solely by an equipment malfunction, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer or company. This type of lawsuit may be realistic when victims can prove faulty equipment as the clear cause of the injury. In this case, you may purse workers’ compensation benefits as well as a third party lawsuit.
An experienced lawyer can offer knowledge, guidance, and direction through this often difficult process. If fault needs to be proven in court, your attorney can gather and develop evidence to build a solid case. They will have a strong network of medical and professional experts to serve as witnesses. They can also obtain key medical records and testimonies to help you win your case.
Find a New Jersey Lawyer Today
If you would like to find out if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits or a third party lawsuit from faulty equipment, contact The Hayes Firm today. We can help you realistically evaluate your legal options completely for free. Tell us a little about your work-related injury and we will review your case as soon as possible. If further legal action seems appropriate, we will connect you with an experience, local injury lawyer. If you have questions about workers’ compensation or injury lawsuits in New Jersey, contact us today.