Conveyor belts are used in grocery, warehouses, coal mines, distribution companies, factories, and assembly jobs to move material and increase productivity. While conveyor belts are valuable tools, any malfunction could lead to extremely dangerous situations and workplace injuries.
Unfortunately, many workers are not properly trained or informed of the dangers and risks of performing duties involving conveyor belt systems.
Were you injured in a conveyor belt accident, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by another’s negligence?
The Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC resolve cases involving workplace injuries to ensure our clients receive maximum compensation for their damages.
Contact a Chicago conveyor belt accident lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options. All information you share with our law firm remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Causes of Conveyor Belt Injuries
Determining fault is instrumental in building any personal injury lawsuit, and understanding the common causes of conveyor belt injuries will help you decide whether or not you may have a case.
Following are some scenarios in which negligent actions or policies may injure those working with or around a conveyor belt machine:
- The conveyor belt is partially or entirely unguarded: Guard rails placed in locations where injured workers may accidentally place hands, fingers, or feet into potential pinch points reduce the risk of workers’ injury. Alternatively, an employer can be held liable for a lack of injury prevention guards.
- The conveyor belt speed is hazardous: Conveyor belts’ moving parts can cause crush injuries in almost any body part if caught between the objects moving along them or between an object and the belt itself. Expecting workers to conduct their duties with belts moving at excessive speeds can be considered negligence.
- Defective conveyor belt equipment or design: If a manufacturing defect or poor design is determined to create a hazardous work environment, injured workers harmed in conveyor belt accidents involving defective equipment may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer.
- Lack of conveyor belt safety training: Failing to disclose the risks of working with dangerous equipment or not educating employees on safe and proper conduct is detrimental to employee safety.
- Poor maintenance: Any improperly installed moving part of the conveyor belt can easily break or become damaged, posing a severe health risk to workers. The company must schedule routine maintenance to protect workers.
- Items falling from conveyor belts: Objects could fall from an overloaded conveyor belt. Too much weight on the machinery might cause the conveyor belt to stop or stall and it could potentially harm a worker.
- Lack of supervision: All workplace environments should be carefully supervised to quickly identify any potential risk of injury, such as finding a conveyor belt defect in real time to avoid mechanical and belt accidents.
- Human error: Many serious injuries occur when the worker makes a mistake leading to a personal injury caused by blunt force trauma, electrocution from exposed wiring, or burn injuries.
By following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved conveyor safety measures, employers must train workers to use conveyor belts properly to avoid workplace accidents.
The employer must also ensure that all employees are covered through the Worker’s Compensation benefit program that provides wage and death payments.
Conveyor Belt Accidents: Injured Workers’ Common Injuries
Nearly all conveyor belt accidents result from mechanical failure, exposed wiring, improper assembly, malfunctioning emergency stop cables, or being caught in the mechanical pinch or nip points. Conveyor belt injuries result from user negligence, improper inspections, or a failure to follow workers’ safety measures.
Many workers injured on the job in conveyor belt accidents suffer blunt force trauma injuries when heavy objects drop off an unsecured belt, striking the worker below. Some workers try to move objects traveling on the belt, amputating a body part, or getting crushed or cut.
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the most common workplace injuries in conveyor belt accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Blunt force trauma injuries
- Severe head trauma
- Fractured vertebra
- Crush injuries
- Burn injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Degloving injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Limbs caught in or between the conveyor belt
- Wrongful death (fatal injuries)
Did your loved one suffer one of these common conveyor belt injuries due to another’s negligence or were never trained to use the equipment safely? Did their injuries sustained in the accident require an emergency room visit? Contact an experienced lawyer from our law office to recover their damages.
Conveyor Belts: Company Liability
OSHA and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provide proper guidelines identifying workplace safety issues when designing, constructing, or operating conveyor belts.
Federal regulations mandate companies ensure that their conveyor belts remain snag-free by properly guarding all parts, including the belt, gears, nip points, and drums.
Many industries that use conveyor belts face liability when failing to provide safety for workers and must take proper steps to create a hazard-free workplace environment.
According to OSHA, the company, including its management, factory supervisors, and forepersons, must:
- Identify any hazard related to using any machine, including a conveyor belt
- Enforce safety measures when using guards and devices to eliminate or reduce conveyor belt accidents
- Provide all workers with face guards and protective clothing
- Estimate the potential risk of suffering severe injuries should a malfunction occur while using the conveyor belt or performing maintenance
- Train and supervise workers on correctly using a conveyor belt
When an accident occurs, the employer, management, supervisor, or business owner must ensure that the ill or injured worker receives immediate medical care. The employer should initiate an investigation and help the employee submit a claim to the workers’ compensation payment program.
Conveyor Belt Accidents: Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Hundreds of conveyor belt accidents are reported to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) every year.
Employers must provide all workers injured on the job and surviving family members who lost a loved one in an accident that works with workers’ compensation benefits and death benefits.
The worker’s compensation program provides injured workers benefits until they heal completely from a work-related accident or illness. Workers’ compensation insurance helps to cover hospitalization costs, medical expenses, permanent or temporary disability benefits, and other monetary compensation for ongoing tangible costs.
Surviving family members who lost a loved one in a workplace accident can receive the decedent’s worker’s compensation benefits along with funeral and burial expenses.
If the company does not provide worker’s compensation, the injured worker can file a civil lawsuit against their employer to recover medical costs and lost wages.
In some cases, conveyor belt accidents result from negligence by a third party (not the injured worker’s employer).
A capable attorney will investigate details you may otherwise think irrelevant and discover evidence of negligence or product liability, allowing you to recover the compensation you need to pay medical bills and replace the wages you’ve lost during your physical recovery.
The Benefits of Legal Counsel After Conveyor Belt Accidents
Were you injured in a conveyor belt accident, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by their employer’s negligence? Do you suspect you are receiving substandard workers’ compensation payments from your employer?
The conveyor belt system attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you obtain compensation to recover all your damages.
Call our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form. We offer free initial consultations to discuss the merits of your case.
Our law firm understands that your family might need more funds to hire an attorney to handle your legal issue. We accept every personal injury case and wrongful death lawsuit on a contingency fee basis, meaning no payments are made until we successfully resolve your case.
Our lawyers have an established track record of successfully representing clients’ interests when they are harmed on the job and ensuring they receive the treatment and compensation they rightfully deserve.