Hurt in an Industrial Accident Involving a Conveyor Belt?

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Conveyor belts are an essential tool in many industrial workplaces, including mines, warehouses, factories and even commercial fishing vessels. However, these machines can also be a safety hazard in certain circumstances. For example, employers may fail to train workers how to use conveyor belts or neglect necessary maintenance. In other cases, conveyor belts may have dangerous design defects, creating hazardous conditions. As a result, workers can suffer lacerations, loss of limb or traumatic brain injuries. In the worst-case scenario, workers can lose their lives due to conveyor belt accidents.

At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., we have the experience and resources to fully investigate these kinds of workplace accidents. Our industrial accident attorneys have a proven record of success in securing multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements for victims and their families.

What Types of Injuries Can Conveyor Belts Cause?

Injuries caused by conveyor belts may vary depending on the circumstances of an accident. However, the following injuries are among the most common:

  • Blunt force trauma injuries. Heavy objects can fall from unsecured conveyor belts and strike employees working below. Overloaded conveyor belts may also cause objects to fall. Workers struck by objects may suffer from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and/or lacerations.
  • Crush injuries. Conveyor belts have many moving parts that may cause workers to suffer from crush injuries. For example, workers may have their limbs caught in between these moving parts while performing maintenance. Crush injuries may result in loss of limb or broken bones.
  • Burn injuries. If conveyor belts have faulty or exposed wiring, then workers may be at risk for electrocution. As a result, they may suffer burn injuries and/or cardiac arrest.
  • Degloving injuries. Without proper guards, hands can become caught in the moving parts of conveyor belts. Soft tissue may become caught on these parts and pulled off hands or limbs, resulting in a degloving injury.
  • Wrongful death. Conveyor belts may cause fatal injuries. For example, workers injured by moving parts could suffer lethal blood loss. Crush injuries and electrocution can also result in wrongful death. Objects falling from conveyor belts may cause fatal traumatic brain injuries.

What Should My Employer Be Doing to Promote Conveyor Safety?

If you work with or near a conveyor belt, then your employer should provide training and certain safety equipment. Otherwise, you may be able to report unsafe conditions to OSHA. Conveyor safety should include:

  • Training programs. Training programs teach workers important conveyor rules such as keeping jewelry or hair away from moving parts. Workers must also know the functions of controls and how to report unsafe conditions. These tasks are impossible without effective training programs.
  • Utilize lockout/tagout policies. Conveyor belt injuries are most likely to occur when workers are performing maintenance. Lockout devices can isolate energy sources for machinery and other equipment to prevent accidental activation. In addition, these devices warn other workers when machines are being serviced.
  • Use machine guards. Conveyor belts should use guard rails in areas where moving parts are most likely to cause injuries. In addition, proper guards can prevent objects from falling and striking workers.
  • Perform maintenance. When parts are incorrectly installed or break, they pose a risk to workers. Employers should schedule routine maintenance on conveyor belts. Routine maintenance may also uncover design defects.
  • Identify risks. Employers should carefully supervise work environments to identify conveyor belt risks, which may include product defects in the conveyor.

Workers injured by conveyor belts may be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Family members of deceased workers may be able to receive death benefits, which can pay for burial and funeral costs. There are also circumstances where third parties are responsible for conveyor belt accidents. For example, a manufacturing defect present in the conveyor belt injures or kills a worker. In this case, it may be possible to file a third party claim. Unlike workers compensation benefits, a third party claim allows for pain and suffering damages. This option creates the possibility of receiving a much larger recovery.

Hurt by a Conveyor Belt? Contact Our Philadelphia Industrial Accident Attorneys

No matter what industry you work in, if a conveyor belt accident caused your injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death, then our attorneys can provide the legal help you need. We are knowledgeable about the safety standards that companies should be following. We can identify when safety measures have been overlooked or ignored for the purpose of achieving greater profits.

Contact us today to speak with our knowledgeable Philadelphia and New Jersey industrial accident lawyers at (866) 569-3400. We offer free initial consultations and handle cases on a contingency fee basis.