Employees in industrial facilities in California are typically exposed to the hazards posed by heavy machinery and equipment. A significant percentage of workers’ compensation claims filed by factory workers involve injuries caused by machinery. However, more injuries are caused by the unsafe operation of equipment rather than by the machines. Although machines are invaluable in the manufacturing industry, it is up to employers to ensure that employees receive proper operation and safety training.
Only workers who have undergone thorough training should operate machines. Along with general safety around machines, operators must be trained to operate the different types of equipment safely. All machines must be fitted with proper guarding devices to prevent contact with moving or rotating parts. Barriers, two-hand operating machines and light curtains can prevent serious, even fatal, injuries.
All workers who operate heavy machines or work close by must wear the necessary personal protective equipment. Safety goggles and gloves are typically needed, but each workplace poses unique hazards. Proper risk assessments must be carried out to determine the need for other items of PPE. Loading and unloading zones pose unique hazards that require additional precautions, mainly where forklifts or other heavy equipment are used to lift heavy loads that could cause devastating injuries if it should be dropped.
Although the California Division of Safety and Health says all workplace accidents are preventable, they will continue to happen. Machine-related injuries could be life changing, often with severe financial consequences, and victims might be left with disabilities. The California workers’ compensation insurance program offers benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, and an experienced workers’ comp attorney can help with the claims process and assist those who became disabled to obtain additional benefits, like vocational rehabilitation, to equip them with new skills.