In recent years, conveyor belts and similar systems have increased in popularity, especially in workplaces such as factories, warehouses, mines, and department stores. These belt systems do wonders to increase productivity and efficiency, but that does not mean they are 100 percent safe or free of risk–a large number of workers are injured in conveyor belt accidents each year.
These systems are no different from any other type of machinery in that they must be installed, maintained, and operated correctly to ensure workers’ safety. In addition, workers themselves must be properly trained and supervised when working in order to know how to spot and address potential hazards as they arise. If not, disaster can strike, and injured workers may not know where to turn.
Fortunately, Van Law Firm is here to help–simply call our location nearest you to see how we can defend your rights in your time of need. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations surrounding conveyor belt accidents and injuries.
What are Some Potential Causes of Conveyor Belt Accidents?
- Improper assembly: Conveyor belts have a lot of moving parts that need to be carefully assembled and calibrated in order to run correctly. If a system has not been properly assembled, it significantly increases the risk of accident.
- Open or exposed belts: In areas where workers are present, there should be adequate railing or barriers to prevent hands, feet, and legs from getting swept away or pinched by conveyor belts.
- Hazardous belt speeds: Although these systems are designed to increase efficiency, there is a point where the speed of the conveyor belts can pose a potential safety risk, especially in areas where workers are loading or unloading goods.
- Defective or faulty systems: Given the sheer number of parts involved, it stands to reason that an equipment failure is more than possible. Manufacturers may be held liable if it is discovered that their equipment was defective.
- Inadequate employee training: Employees must receive proper safety training before using any machinery or equipment, and this is the same for conveyor belts. Even if an employee is to blame for an accident, their employer can still be held liable if they did not administer the proper training.
- Lack of proper upkeep and maintenance: Conveyor belt systems require consistent, detailed maintenance in order to function properly and safely. If a business owner neglects this responsibility, it could cause the equipment to malfunction and injure surrounding workers.
- Overcrowded belts: These systems are primarily used to efficiently transport goods, but when businesses try to overload the belts with too much product, it creates a number of problems for workers, including instances of crushing. It also limits workers’ field of vision, which can be disastrous.
Frequent Conveyor Belt Accident-Related Injuries
Conveyor belt accidents are unfortunately more common than you might think, and they can result in a wide range of injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has said that common conveyor belt injuries can include:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Hand and foot injuries
- Blunt trauma injuries
- Amputations and crush injuries
- Concussions and whiplash
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Lacerations, scrapes, and burns
- Back and neck injuries
Conveyor Belt Accident Liability
Businesses have a lot of obligations to uphold when it comes to installing and maintaining machinery, and when they do not, they can be held responsible for workers’ injuries. OSHA guidelines state that employers must:
- Swiftly spot and address any machine or equipment-related hazards–this includes conveyor belts
- Provide adequate safety measures such guardrails and barriers where applicable
- Perform routine maintenance to ensure that equipment is running properly
- Provide employees with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Post relevant warning signs and disclaimers where applicable
- Provide comprehensive training on how to safely operate equipment at all times
- Keep enough staff on hand so that there is always proper supervision when operating equipment
Anytime an accident does happen in the course of work duties, employers must also have the proper workers’ compensation benefits in place to cover the injury expenses of the injured employee. If they do not, you will need to consult with a trusted workplace accident attorney in order to recover the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Injured in a Conveyor Belt Accident? Contact Van Law Firm
All accidents are unfortunate, but workplace accidents can be especially stressful, especially if you aren’t getting the benefits you deserve. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a conveyor belt accident, be sure to contact the Van Law Firm office nearest you right away. Our experienced team of workplace accident and conveyor belt injury attorneys can defend your rights and get you back on your feet when you need it most. Call now to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation and case review.