Many punch presses are used by ironworkers and construction workers for hole punching, slotting, and more. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees many accidents that happen in the workplace. Over the past few years, more and more accidents have come to light due to punch press malfunctions and their appearance in the workplace. For instance, in 2013 punch press malfunctions occurred when employees caught their hands in presses and underwent amputations due to losing fingers and more. In other events, hands were crushed and body parts removed. This should show workers just how dangerous these accidents can be and why precautions must be taken when operating these inherently dangerous tools.
Everything You Need to Know About Punch Presses
Why are these tools so dangerous in the workplace? The truth is, it has to do a lot with how they are created and manufactured. Punch press amputations grow in numbers every year, which is why manufacturers are urged to be careful when dealing with safety equipment and practices to ensure that employees are kept safe at all times.
Some of the largest punch presses used in workplaces can range in strength from about ten tons to 50,000 tons. These amazing machines can cost thousands and thousands of dollars for companies, but can also pose the largest risks. In 1979l a client bought an old punch press from 1928 that was still perceived to be in excellent operating condition. However, one day the press descended and partially amputated the right hand of the manufacturer’s employee – and before this, there had never been a single accident reported on the punch press.
The reason why these accidents happen is largely due to the fact that the control mechanisms are extremely complicated, so only specific employees are trained to operate them in full. They include an understanding of foot pedals, hand pedals, electronic switches, buttons, and much more. Many steel and metal companies have punch presses that are decades old, so anything can go wrong – and in some cases, this starts with the manufacturer rather than the employer.
However, in some cases the employer may be seen as liable. Hydraulic presses can pose very severe hazards to people who are not properly trained by employers to operate them. Operators may sustain risks such as bodily injuries, severe lacerations, and strangulation if they have long hair, loose clothing, or jewelry. This is why it is important for employers to routinely train employees to use these dangerous machines and get the hang of them before they use them. One of the most common reasons for injuries is a lack of proper machine guards, which could be prevented by employers.
Many years ago, a woman died when working with a punch press when knockout occurred, which is when the die presses down and punches out a section in the middle of a sheet. She sustained a severe penetrating wound of the left neck. Because of this, OSHA agreed that employers must always ensure that machines are safeguarded, designate a person to conduct frequent safety inspections, and enforce a written safety program.
Defective Punch Presses
In many of the cases involving punch presses, defective manufacturing is at play. Industrial liability is a big deal because many of the accidents that take place in the workplace are extremely serious because of the large and dangerous equipment that poses a risk, sometimes even easily causing fatalities. Since the machines in factories can be extremely dangerous, many serious injuries and deaths will result every year. Imagine, as a worker, using a punch press machine and having your fingers, hand, or arm in the danger zone when the ram comes down. Then the part of your body in the danger zone can easily be amputated, leaving you unable to work in that line of work for a long time, if ever. This is why you will often be entitled to damages for these serious accidents.
In many of these product cases, you may find that both the manufacturer and the employer are liable for your injuries. Yes, the manufacturer may have issued a defective product to your employer. However, your employer may have also failed to properly inspect, maintain, adhere to safety procedures, and train employees to safely take care of these machines. As your lawyer, we work to obtain compensation for you where it matters the most. The injuries from a punch press accident could have deteriorating effects on your health, such as those that stem from lacerations, amputation, crushing of a limb, head injury, or a severed limb. Because of that, we can help you get compensation such as that which covers medical expenses, hospital expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and financial loss.
Product Liability Regarding Punch Presses
Product liability is largely based on something being wrong with a product and the fact that the manufacturer is responsible for taking it off the shelves until it is fixed. A manufacturer holds one of the most important titles in the industry, ensuring that workers are kept safe through safe products. However, if a punch press malfunctions due to a defect, then the manufacturer will be held liable to pay damages through the theory of negligence. Unfortunately, by then it could be too late, and you may have already lost a vital body part or worse.
Luckily, if you have suffered from a punch press injury, you may be entitled to compensation. You have rights, which is why you should seek the help of an experienced attorney in your case. We have fought for the rights of many workers over the years, especially when dealing with product liability claims by a manufacturer. Call us today for more information on how we can help you!