Unsafe or Dangerous Equipment Accidents

Construction sites are one of the leading causes of deaths in the workplace due to their unsafe nature in many situations. Because of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has applied many regulations to these sites and has overseen that safety measures are taken in the workplace through employer and employee actions. In many cases, an employer is responsible for ensuring compliance with OSHA regulations and can be held liable in the event of an accident. Some of the most dangerous accidents that may occur at a construction site are struck-by hazards where equipment or tools hit an employee, and defective products backfiring on workers or being inherently dangerous.

Struck-by Accidents Involving Equipment

Earth Digger DriverUsing heavy equipment in the workplace can lead to dangerous situations that risk lives and cause injuries to many more. Construction zones across the United States are filled with heavy machinery like cranes, trucks, pipe layers, compactors, front-end loaders, backhoes, bulldozers, tractors, excavators, cherry pickers, and forklifts. Struck-by accidents can cause such serious injuries due to the large weight of many of these machines being used on the job. Workers are most often struck by trucks and cranes, falling or flying tools and objects, and concrete walls being constructed. In many construction work zones, employers will implement “control measures” to make sure workers are fully educated on safety in the workplace.

For instance, you can take one of the most used pieces of heavy machinery on the job in a construction zone, the crane. Is the crane operator able to see where the workers are at all times so that they do not accidentally hit them? Is the worker out of the “swing radius
and not caught under a suspended load that could fall and hit them? Furthermore, are reinforcing bars capped to relieve exposure so that nobody falls onto them? Is a safety saw adjusted so that it doesn’t kick back on the employee? Is the head of a hammer firmly attached to the handle so the head doesn’t fly? These are all things to be considered in a day in construction.

Accident Prevention Involving Machinery and Tools

Of course, there are some safety tips that you can consider to prevent accidents occurring in the construction workplace.

  • Always wear a seatbelt and make sure the vehicle is properly maintained before you use it. You should conduct a vehicle inspection before every shift and never operate equipment that you believe to be defective.
  • When you are driving a vehicle in reverse gear, you should always have another worker with you to signal if you have an obstructed rear view. The machinery should also have a reverse alarm, which is audible above surrounding noise.
  • When using lifting or dumping devices, always clear all personnel from the scene.
  • Of course, if you are using a forklift, you should always be properly trained and certified to operate it safely. Never exceed the vehicle capacity and always look around for hazards such as workers or objects.
  • If you are working underneath cranes, hoists, or scaffolds, never exceed the capacity. Stay clear of lifted loads and do not work underneath a suspended load.
  • If you are performing overhead work, make sure to always secure all tools and materials.
  • When working with hand tools, never use tools that have loose, cracked, or splintered handles. This may cause the head of the tool to fly off, striking other workers. You should also never use a wrench whose jaws or sprung or an impact tool with a mushroomed head.
  • If workers are operating power tools, they should always be trained on the safest operation as well as wearing safety protection.
  • Machines being used should always be inspected as well.

Defective Equipment in Construction Zones

Building contractor worker using hand held worm drive circular saw to cut boards on a new home construction project

It is obvious that construction workers will be using a lot of equipment in their time. In fact, one of the largest portions of a workers’ job will involve using tools and heavy equipment such as a hammer, power saw, drill, or jackhammer. Any piece of equipment that is used in a construction zone, however, can be defective. Many of these tools are powered or considered to be heavy machinery, which means that the effects of an accident can be extremely serious or even deadly. Many of the workers involved in accidents with these powerful tools will sustain life-long injuries such as permanent brain damage, loss of a limb, vision or hearing impairments, and possibly even death.

So, what happens if you can trace the accident back to a defective piece of equipment? You may be able to file suit against the manufacturer or leasing company involved. However, making a determination of fault in these types of accidents can be extremely complex. This is why it is worthwhile to have a personal injury attorney on your side who can fight aggressively beside you for your rights to compensation.

Here are some of the most dangerous pieces of equipment used in a construction zone and reasons why precautions should be taken when using them:

  • Chain Saw: Chainsaws can be extremely deadly when not used properly, or at the very least, cause severed limbs. These saws are usually incredibly heavy and large, running at dangerous speeds. However, with proper safety care, you can prevent an accident.
  • Nail Gun: Nail guns send out nails with force that penetrates them deep inside the wood. If the safety mechanism that stops it from shooting nails across a room is defective, it could seriously injure or kill somebody. This is why workers should never point their nail gun at anybody, or themselves.
  • Power Drill: Spinning drills could spin right through the body if they were to come into contact with your skin. This is why it is important to position the drill firmly against the surface it will be working on before the trigger is pulled.
  • Ladder: Ladders are one of the main causes of accidents in these zones. Ladders that are old, broken, or weak can pose many dangers. If they are placed improperly, they could slip and cause serious injury.

In many cases, you could hold an employer or a manufacturer liable when you have been injured as a result of machinery, either in a struck-by accident or the result of a defective product. The truth is, construction accidents happen all the time but can typically be prevented. Following safety measures will keep more accidents from happening and save more lives. For help in your personal injury case, call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today.