Colorado Workers’ Compensation for Heavy Machinery & Equipment Accidents
What are your rights after a workplace injury?
Getting hurt on the job can set a worker back financially, medically and emotionally.
Every year, thousands of Americans get hurt at work. Some injuries happen because of a repetitive motion that damages the body over time. In other cases, though, the injury is the result of a single traumatic accident.
In an increasingly mechanized workplace, machines often cause these accidents. Though technology advances can certainly help businesses improve efficiency and profits, increased automation creates risks for workers.
What happens when a machine fails, causing someone to get stuck or striking a nearby worker?
The results can be devastating. Employees who are hurt in a heavy equipment accident should call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney right away to understand their rights.
Heavy equipment accident statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on how risky certain jobs and occupations tend to be, and the statistics show that working with heavy equipment constitutes a major risk.
In fact, around 400 U.S. workers are killed each year by heavy equipment at work.
Colorado has its fair share of heavy equipment and machine accidents. While various types of machinery can be dangerous, dump trucks are the most dangerous of all and produce the most fatalities. If you or a loved one work around dump trucks or other heavy equipment, it’s important to know how these accidents and deaths occur, and what situations you should avoid.
What is “heavy” equipment or machinery?
If you’re reading this, you may be wondering whether the machines, tools and equipment at your workplace constitutes “heavy” machinery. There is no specific definition of heavy machinery. It can refer to anything from a large bulldozer or trash compactor, wind turbines, presses, cutting machines, or large industrial fans.
However, not all machinery in the workplace is considered “heavy.” A desk computer, for instance, likely doesn’t qualify. However, the forklift your coworkers uses to move pallets from one place to another would almost certainly qualify.
Regardless of the type of heavy machinery you are injured by, The Babcock Law Firm can fight for your right to financial compensation after the injury occurs.
How do heavy machinery accidents happen?
There are many ways that heavy machinery and equipment accidents can occur. The most common cause is operator error. Even when people are properly trained, they may be distracted while using machinery or they might try to take too much weight, resulting in equipment failure or a collision.
Machinery can also fail because of inadequate maintenance. When companies get too busy or their budget gets tight, they may cut corners and fail to keep up with standard maintenance. This exposes workers to greater risk.
Insufficient supervision is another common cause of heavy machine accidents. Most workplaces with large machinery understand that it’s critical to supervise the people using the equipment. After all, failing to do so can result in life-changing injuries.
Lastly, defective machinery or parts can contribute to a workplace accident. Brand new machinery can be defective but defects are even more likely as the equipment ages. Responsible employers should account for this and perform more maintenance on older machines. Failing to do so puts workers at risk.
Types of heavy equipment accident injuries in Colorado
Unfortunately, workplace accidents involving heavy equipment occur every year in Colorado. These accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries. Examples include crushing injuries, electrocutions, burns, abrasions, and more. In the worst cases, the injuries result in permanent disability or death.
How to prevent heavy equipment accidents
Conscientious companies should take steps to prevent injuries in the workplace caused by heavy machinery by routinely maintaining equipment. Employers should also properly supervise employees and adequately train those who will operate equipment.
Beyond these steps, employers should create a work culture where safety is prioritized.
Workers can also take steps to prevent workplace accidents and injuries by keeping these safety tips in mind:
- Avoid getting close to machinery when not using the device
- Only use equipment for which you are properly trained
- Wear the recommended personal protective equipment
- Stay in constant communication with others around you
- Be watchful of blind spots
- Wear a seat belt when operating heavy equipment
- Maintain 3 points of contact when mounting or dismounting heavy equipment
- Be aware of load limits and don’t exceed them for any reason
- Inspect equipment every day before using
The role of workers’ compensation for heavy equipment accidents
Most Colorado companies are required to have insurance to provide workers with coverage if they get hurt on the job. This is called workers’ compensation. If you’re hurt at work, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim in order to obtain benefits.
However, your company and their insurance provider may make it difficult to recover. This is why it’s important to hire a knowledgeable and experienced law firm who can explain your rights and represent your interests. The attorneys at The Babcock Law Firm are experienced in handling injuries involving heavy equipment, and they are ready to go to work on your behalf.