If you work with machinery, you know how important safety in the workplace is. Machinery accidents are a leading cause of serious injury and death across many industries in New York City, including construction, manufacturing and warehousing. Workers who are not provided with the proper safety gear, safe workplace practices, and equipment in good working order are at risk of getting caught or crushed in or between machinery, electrocuted, losing a limb, or suffering broken bones, severe trauma, concussions, back injuries and other serious harm.
Factory owners, contractors and property owners can all be held responsible for machinery accidents, including workers’ compensation in some cases and tort damages in others. In cases where third parties are to blame for causing the accident, they can be held liable as well for the full extent of harm they’ve caused. Knowing the proper party to hold accountable and the relevant law or laws that apply requires the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with experience helping machinery accident victims get the medical care and compensation they need and deserve after being hurt due to faulty machinery or negligence. In NYC, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C., to review your claim with an experienced and successful New York construction and machinery accident lawyer.
Dangers of Machinery Accidents in Construction and Factory Work
Construction sites are packed with machines everywhere you turn, including backhoes and loaders, forklifts, dump trucks, trenchers, excavators, cranes, and dozens more. Getting caught in or caught between machinery on a construction site is one of the four leading causes of construction deaths, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Construction workers get pinned between machines or a machine and another structure, get buried in or by machinery, or get pinched or crushed because of unguarded moving parts. Caught-in/between is typically listed as number two in the OSHA “Fatal Four” most common construction accidents.
OSHA has a host of regulations and standards in place to prevent these kinds of machinery accidents. Machinery must be properly guarded, supported or secured. Power tools and other equipment with moving parts, such as band saws, belts and pulleys, and gears, should all be equipped with guards so that a hand, arm, or loose clothing can’t get pulled into the machinery.
Wheeled vehicles and large machines should also be properly bolted, blocked or secured to prevent them from shifting, rolling or tipping over.
Machinery accidents can cause other injuries besides violent traumatic accidents, including hearing and vision loss over time or in a one-time event such as an explosion. All workers in construction and factories can suffer hearing loss if not provided with proper safety equipment, and workers in specialty occupations like arc welding could suffer vision loss if not also outfitted with protective gear.
New York Labor Law Addresses Owner Responsibility for Machinery Accidents
Of the many laws that might apply to a person injured in a machinery accident in New York, two that particularly stand out are New York Labor Law 200 and 241(6).
Section 200 is a general negligence law that requires owners and contractors to provide a reasonably safe environment for workers, including machinery and equipment specifically. The law says, “All machinery, equipment, and devices [on construction worksites] shall be so placed, operated, guarded, and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection [to workers or others lawfully on the site].”
To hold an owner or contractor liable for a machinery accident under section 200, the injured victim bears the burden of proving the owner/contractor was negligent and that negligence caused the accident. For instance, the victim could show the owner/contractor knew or should have known about a dangerous condition and failed to adequately warn about the hazard or fix it. Alternatively, the victim could demonstrate the existence of unsafe work practices that the owner/contractor had supervisory control over.
Proving liability under section 241(6) requires pointing to a specific safety standard in the NY Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCCR) found in the NY Industrial Code. Here the injury victim must prove either negligence or a violation of the listed safety rule. An entire section (subpart) of the NYCCR covers power-operated equipment, with general requirements applying to “all power-operated equipment” as well as specific requirements for conveyors and cableways; power shovels and backhoes; excavators; motor trucks; lift and fork trucks; pile drivers; mixing machines; and more. Equipment must be inspected frequently and maintained in good repair and properly operating condition “at all times.”
Section 241(6) applies to all areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed.
Contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C., After a New York Machinery Accident
If you have been hurt in a machinery accident in New York City, or if you lost a family member in a fatal New York machinery accident, call Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. at 212-889-9362 for a no-cost consultation and immediate assistance. We want to help you get justice for your harm by holding the proper party fully accountable to you for the damage they have caused.