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The Most Common Injuries Caused by Working with Machines Unsafely
Heavy machinery, by its nature, is dangerous. Workers in industries that range from manufacturing to construction must interact with large, powerful, and often complex equipment every day, which requires careful handling and adherence to safety protocols. Failure to follow these protocols can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities, emphasizing the importance of safety training.
Unfortunately, many workers are injured every year in accidents involving these machines. While these incidents may be caused by defective equipment or another external factor, others occur due to unsafe handling.
Common Types of Injuries Caused by Machines
Machinery-related accidents can have a significant impact on a person’s life, leading to catastrophic and life-altering effects. These injuries can range from minor to severe and may include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Crushing injuries
- Eye injuries
- Burns and scarring
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Facial disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Entanglement injuries
What Factors Can Lead to Machinery-Related Injuries?
Injuries from machinery are not always the result of equipment failure; often, they are caused by a combination of human error and environmental factors. These can vary from inadequate training and supervision to the neglect of safety protocols and proper equipment maintenance. Understanding these factors is essential to create safer work environments and reduce the risk of accidents.
Some of the most common causes of machinery-related injuries include:
- Failure to Use Safety Equipment: Safety equipment is crucial for protection against various hazards. Not wearing appropriate gear like gloves, goggles, or safety guards can significantly increase the risk of certain injuries, such as eye damage or skin irritation.
- Inadequate Machine Maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial for safety. Machines that aren’t properly maintained can malfunction, leading to unexpected and dangerous situations.
- Unrealistic Worker Schedules: Workers who are hurried or fatigued tend to make more errors and take unsafe shortcuts, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
- Lack of Supervision: Adequate supervision ensures adherence to safety protocols. In its absence, workers might not follow safety guidelines, resulting in accidents.
- Improper Material Handling: Incorrect handling of materials near machinery can cause dangerous interactions, like objects being propelled or operators coming into contact with moving parts.
- Lack of Proper Training: Without proper training, workers may not understand how to operate machinery safely, leading to mishandling and potential accidents.
- Ignoring Lockout/Tagout Procedures: When machines aren’t in use, they should be safely powered off, especially when someone is cleaning or performing maintenance work on them. Skipping lockout/tagout procedures can result in unintended activations and serious injuries.
What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job in Washington State
In Washington, workers injured on the job are entitled to benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. This legislation states that eligible workers can recover compensation to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other related costs. If you suffer an injury due to unsafe machine operation, you can file a claim for benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
If you are injured by heavy machinery, report the incident immediately and seek medical attention. Then, contact a Seattle workers’ compensation attorney for assistance. A lawyer can help you navigate your claim, advocating for your right to full benefits and fair compensation.