New York Heavy Equipment and Machinery Accidents Lawyer
Workers often are required to use heavy machinery and equipment to do their jobs. But given the incredible weight and power of these machines, even a minor mistake or oversight while using this equipment can have devastating effects. According to a report from the Center for Construction Research and Training, accidents caused by heavy vehicles and equipment caused 7,681 construction deaths from 1992 to 2010, demonstrating how carefully such machines need to be handled.
If workers are not properly trained on how to operate their equipment, or the machine itself has an unexpected manufacturing defect, employers and other legally responsible parties may be liable in the event that a worker or another person is seriously injured in a heavy machinery accident. If you or someone you love have been injured in such an accident, a heavy equipment accident lawyer will be able to find the parties responsible and hold them liable for the pain that they’ve caused you and the money they owe you.
These types of accidents can occur wherever heavy machinery is required, such as on a construction, excavation or demolition site, at a factory or warehouse, or on a road or highway that is being paved. Heavy machinery and equipment that can cause serious injury includes but is not limited to:
- Cement mixers
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Paving machines
- Pile drivers
- Road graders
- Snow plows
The construction accident attorneys of Block O’Toole & Murphy have won nearly 100 results each exceeding $1,000,000 for victims of construction accidents. Call 212-736-5300 to receive a FREE legal consultation from an experienced lawyer.
Causes of Heavy Equipment Injuries to Workers
Heavy machines and equipment can be dangerous not just to operators, but to other onsite workers and even non-workers who happen to be nearby. While the cause of an accident varies greatly depending on the machine involved, the mechanism of injury usually falls into a few broad categories:
- Rollover Accidents are common with machines which carry heavy loads, such as dump trucks and forklifts. Vehicles overloaded past their stated capacity are especially prone to rollover accidents.
- Struck-By Accidents are a hazard because heavy machines often have large blind spots, potentially endangering other workers and passersby. Recently in New York, there have been a flurry of struck-by accidents involving garbage trucks and pedestrians.
- Electrocution Accidents are a hazard for machine operators working in the vicinity of live electrical wires. For example, crane operators need to be aware of where overhanging electrical wires are located, while excavator operators need a clear understanding of where all underground utilities are, so that they can be safely avoided.
- Overload Accidents are a danger to load-bearing machines such as cranes and dump trucks. To prevent these types of accidents, load capacities must be observed, particularly when operating a vehicle on uneven ground.
In order to prevent workers from being injured in heavy equipment accidents, employers must offer comprehensive safety training, and manufacturers must make sure their equipment is in proper working order. When these basic duties are not upheld, workers are the ones who pay the price.
Accidents Caused by Lack of Worker Training
Proper worker safety training is crucial because when you’re working with heavy, powerful and dangerous machines, the margin of error is slim. Both machinery operators and other onsite workers need to have a full understanding of the potential dangers associated with heavy machines.
For example, a forklift is a common piece of equipment used to transport heavy objects and materials. A forklift operator needs to understand the load capacity and all of the controls to safely operate the forklift and avoid a potentially dangerous rollover accident. Operators should also understand when to drive in reverse, such as when they can’t see over the load they’re transporting or when they are driving down a ramp.
But it is just as important for other onsite workers to understand how a forklift is operated to keep themselves safe. For instance, all workers should recognize the reverse alarm signal a forklift makes, so that they are aware when an operator’s line of sight may be compromised. They should also be aware of the possible routes a forklift could take, so that they can be careful when turning tight corners and avoid being struck by the forklift.
Heavy Equipment Accidents Caused by Defective Parts
Manufacturing defects are another common cause of heavy machinery accidents. Workers rely on machines to operate exactly as the manufacturer says they will and how they have been trained. Because of the nature of the work heavy machines are used for, even one unexpected manufacturing defect could catch a worker off-guard with potentially disastrous results.
One of the most crucial safety devices on heavy vehicles are the roll-over protective structures (ROPS). A ROPS is meant to protect the driver of a heavy vehicle from crush injuries in the event of a roll-over accident. If this device were to fail during a roll-over, the results could be catastrophic, and the manufacturer could be liable for any injuries sustained.
Another safety device which workers rely on are machine safeguards. A safeguard is a barrier which protects a worker from physical contact with a machine. They are usually present on machines which are inherently dangerous, such as a table saw. If the guard suspended over the saw blade were to unexpectedly fail and cause a worker to contact the machine, serious injuries could result.
Another possible heavy machine defect would be defective wiring. For example, if a new electric-powered mini-crane were being used for the first time, and the operator received an electric shock when turning it on, that could be evidence of a manufacturer defect which could result in a successful third-party lawsuit for a heavy machine accident.
Defective power switches could cause serious injuries if a machine does not turn off when expected. Sometimes it’s necessary for a worker to be in contact with parts of a machine that could be dangerous when active, such as the compactor plate of a garbage truck. Sanitation workers have lost their lives while cleaning or maintaining garbage hoppers which were turned off but malfunctioned and turned back on unexpectedly.
Whenever a manufacturer defect causes a worker to be injured while working on or near a piece of heavy machinery, there may be grounds for a third-party lawsuit to be filed.
Contact an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney
Failure to perform the above duties could be considered negligence. If you have been injured in a New York mechanical equipment accident due to another party’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit may allow you to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost time from work, and pain and suffering.
The experienced construction accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy will review your case free of charge to determine what money you are owed. Receive a free case evaluation by calling 212-736-5300 or by filling out our online contact form so you can learn more about your legal rights and options for recovering compensation. Serving the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, upstate New York and New Jersey.