Workers' compensation: New equipment poses new safety hazards

The safest industrial facility can become a deadly work environment when new equipment is placed into service. Workers' compensation claims in California frequently involve injuries that resulted from changes to production processes and installing new machinery without proper preparation and training. With new equipment comes new hazards and new safety precautions.

In some cases, the installation of new equipment to improve existing processes involve the use of different chemicals that might be more hazardous and need different controls. A whole set of engineering and administrative controls might have to be set in place along with safety training to mitigate new hazards. Additional personal protective equipment might be required for added safety.

All aspects of new installations must be assessed to identify hazards, which might include pinch and catch points, blades, gears, shafts or belts. Severe temperatures, hot surfaces and potential ultraviolet exposure, flash risks and bio-hazards might be present. Confined spaces, suspended loads, electrical hazards and excessive noise might pose risks along with the need for heavy lifting and repetitive motions. Signage could improve hazard awareness, and they might help to remind employees to comply with safety regulations and prevent injuries.

California workers who were exposed to new equipment without receiving proper safety training will be at risk of suffering workplace injuries, some of which could be life-changing. They will likely be eligible for financial assistance through the state-regulated workers' compensation system. Experienced legal counsel can help with the claims process to obtain benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, along with additional benefits for victims of injuries that caused permanent disabilities.

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