Can I get benefits if I'm injured by a defective machine at work in Ohio?
Every year, about 18,000 U.S. employees are seriously injured by machinery. They may suffer amputations, crushed fingers, and joint damage, among other devastating injuries.
Each case is different, but many of these accidents have one thing in common: they likely could have been prevented or made less severe with proper machine-safeguarding equipment, Industrial Equipment News says. Unfortunately, the publication estimates that more than half of machines operating in U.S. workplaces do not meet protection and safety standards.
When workers are injured by malfunctioning machinery or anything else at work, they have the right to apply for Ohio Workers' Compensation benefits. The program compensates for work illness or injury-related medical expenses, rehabilitation, and a percentage of lost wages.
However, getting the benefits you deserve is often an uphill battle. Companies may deny your claim, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (OBWC) often undervalues the cost of recovery and wages.
Compensation for injured Ohio workers
Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A., has more than 150 years of combined legal experience fighting to protect injured Ohio workers' rights. We understand how the workers' comp system runs and the safety laws employers are required to follow.
To learn more about the compensation you deserve, contact Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A., for a free case consultation.
Machinery-related worker injuries
Machinery-related injuries tend to be severe - with or without a defect. When equipment malfunctions, it can crush, cut, strike, scald, or compress an employee. Common machinery-related work injuries include:
- Crushed hands, fingers, and limbs.
- Electrical burns.
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spine damage like a herniated disc or chipped vertebrae.
- Internal bleeding and organ damage.
- Punctures, cuts, bruises.
- Nerve damage.
Workers injured by machines may require amputations. In addition, they may suffer permanent nerve damage that reduces their range of motion, causes paralysis, or reduces overall brain function. Blindness and loss of hearing are also common.
Why does machinery malfunction?
Machines have a lifecycle of defects with three stages, according to one study.
The risk a machine could malfunction and injure an employee is highest when:
- Machinery is newly installed, and parts are still "wearing in." After the equipment is up and running for a bit, the risk of malfunction is lower.
- Machinery enters the "intrinsic failure period," when a machine's parts are still within their lifespan, but random failures happen continually. This may be due to an ineffective pretreatment process, operational errors that unevenly deteriorate parts, or another reason.
- Finally, there is the "wearing out" period when a machine's parts start breaking down due to regular operation.
Heavy equipment that may cause the most severe worker injuries - with or without malfunctioning - include forklifts, conveyor belts, drills, bulldozers, grinders, excavators, and turning machines. When a machine malfunctions, it is likely due to one of the following defects:
- Faulty wiring.
- Low-quality parts and materials.
- Lack of, or removal of, safety features like guards and automatic shutoff switches.
- Assembly and installation errors.
- Normal wear-and-tear.
- Jammed or blocked mechanical operation by a foreign object or malfunctioning part.
Preventing machine malfunction accidents and injuries
To avoid defective machinery accidents and worker injuries, employers should:
- Regularly inspect equipment to ensure safeguards like interlocks, pressure-sensitive mats, and light guards are in place and functioning correctly.
- Implement a safe system of work for using, powering down, and maintaining equipment. This system should inform workers of risks posed by the machinery.
- Ensure safe installation of machinery.
- Hire specialist contractors for inspection, operation, maintenance, and repairs when necessary.
- Identify and improve poorly designed safeguards that are inconvenient and easy to override.
- Emergency stop controls should be installed where necessary and convenient.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE).
Put more than 150 years of combined experience to work for you.
Since 1969, our Ohio workers' compensation lawyers have been fighting for the rights of our clients. We understand what it takes to win in Ohio, and we've got the track record to back it up.
If you were injured in a work accident, a member of our legal team can analyze your work injury situation and explain potential options for compensation.
Do not delay. You must meet fast and firm deadlines to apply for workers' comp successfully or file a work injury lawsuit. We are ready to hear from you now. Contact us today for a free case consultation.