Defective machinery can cause numerous hazards for workers in construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and other industries. Both heavy industrial equipment and intricate machinery require a high level of training and skill to operate safely. When a piece of machinery is defective, it can result in severe or fatal injuries for workers.
We understand how traumatic and devastating injuries caused by defective equipment can be. For help with navigating the complex workers’ compensation system and receiving all the benefits needed to cover your loss, contact our experienced work injury lawyers.
How Defective Machinery Accidents Happen
A defective piece of machinery or equipment can occur in the early draft and design stages, during the production process, or in the marketing stage due to a lack of clear warning labels or accurate safety instructions. A combination of defects may even be present:
- Faulty wiring
- Overheating issues
- Low-quality materials used
- Assembly or installation mistakes
- Installed in an improper location, increasing workers’ injury risk
- Lack of safety features such as guarding, automatic shut-off switch, etc.
But most defective machinery accidents result in “contact with objects and equipment” — the third most common cause of all non-fatal workplace injuries. Contact with equipment includes the following scenarios:
- Struck by a falling object
- Struck by discharged object
- Injured by a handheld object or equipment breaking in hand
- Struck against a moving or stationary part of machinery or equipment
- Caught in or compressed by equipment, either during maintenance while it is running or during regular operation
Examples of Defective Equipment and Machinery Accidents
Unsafe machinery and inadequate machine guarding are among OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited safety violations for construction sites and other workplaces. Hundreds of thousands of workers are injured due to machinery malfunctions and risky workplace practices.
Here is an example of a defective machinery case:
A worker uses a large wood chipper to rapidly grind tree limbs and brush into small chips, which spit out the other end of the machine. Due to a defect during its manufacturing process, the emergency safety switch doesn’t work. As a result, when the worker’s shirt sleeve gets caught on the machine, it pulls their hand and arm into the shredder.
Defects or glitches, whether these occur in large-scale equipment or small machines, can wreak sudden havoc on a normal workday. Machinery malfunctions that cause painful or life-altering injuries may include:
- Cutting machines
- Kitchen appliances
- Medical devices
- Turning machines
- Welding machines
Defective machinery also includes heavy equipment and vehicles such as tractors, bulldozers, loaders, excavators, and compactors.
Types of Injuries Commonly Caused By Defective Machinery
Many kinds of injuries can be caused by defective machinery depending on the equipment’s purpose, size, and location in the work environment.
Poorly maintained equipment can leak harmful or deadly vapors or liquids. Inhaling, touching, or ingesting these substances can cause terrible injuries such as chemical burns, blindness, and internal organ damage.
Workers may suffer thermal burns in an explosion or if there is damage to a pressurized system. Burn injuries may also be caused by exposure to electricity and radiation.
Workers injured by defective machines often suffer one or more of the following traumatic injuries:
- Bruises or contusions
- Cuts or lacerations
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Thermal burns
- Chemical burns
- Crush injuries
- Degloving injuries
- Accidental amputation
The traumatic loss, medical care, emotional anguish, rehabilitation, and disability care resulting from a defective machine accident can all be covered via a workers’ compensation claim against the employer. A secondary product liability claim may also be pursued against the machine’s designer, manufacturer, distributor, or maintenance company due to the defect that led to the accident.
Liability for Defective Machinery and Equipment Accidents
Companies that design, manufacture, or sell defective equipment may be held liable for injuries that result from using their product through a product liability lawsuit.
Establishing liability for accidents involving complex industrial machinery and tools can be complicated for numerous reasons. The best thing a worker injured by a defective machine can do is to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation and product liability lawyer.
At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, our team of work injury attorneys has helped people injured for nearly 30 years. We offer high-skill personal injury representation and have obtained significant recoveries for thousands of our clients.
We will work tirelessly on your behalf to build a strong case, thoroughly investigating the accident, people, and machinery involved so that you can receive the maximum compensation possible for your losses and injuries.
Contact us today at (770) 934-8000 to learn how our compassionate liability lawyers can help. We offer free consultations that are completely confidential; you don’t pay any attorney fees unless we win your case.