Some of the most dangerous work environments in California are industrial facilities where workers risk making contact with moving parts of machines and equipment. A significant number of workers’ compensation claims involve amputation injuries that were caused by the lack of lockout/tagout devices or the lack of safety training and supervision. Even with all the necessary LOTO equipment, many fingers or other body parts have been lost because workers became complacent.
Complacency and fatigue increase injury risk significantly. Workers must never do repairs or maintenance, clear blockages, or clean equipment with moving parts before locking the machine out and tagging it to warn co-workers not to activate it. Unfortunately, workers who have been exposed to these hazards for many years without suffering injuries might be complacent. They could think that clearing a jam or doing a quick repair would need no more than a minute or two — and following the LOTO safety standards would be a waste of time. However, taking shortcuts to save a few minutes could have life-changing consequences.
Fatigue is another hazard that could lead to preventable catastrophic injuries. Fatigued workers typically lack alertness, and they could make errors that could risk not only their safety but also the safety of co-workers. Many such errors involve lockout/tagout violations.
California workers who have to deal with the consequences of safety violations may find comfort in knowing that the state-regulated workers’ compensation insurance program will provide financial assistance to cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Many workers choose to seek the support and guidance of an attorney with experience in this field. Legal counsel can make sure that the injured worker receives maximum compensation under applicable laws. In cases that involve amputation injuries, additional benefits will likely come into play.