Equipment Accidents and Failures
Construction equipment accidents or failures are just one of the many potential hazards these workers face every day. Whether it’s machinery used to get the job done or gear that’s intended to keep workers safe from serious injury, an unexpected failure of equipment can have tragic consequences.
Construction injury attorneys at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, know workers should be able to rely on equipment they use to be safe and dependable. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and there could be a myriad of reasons. It may be the equipment was defectively designed or improperly manufactured. It could be lack of maintenance, overuse, misuse or simply a failure by the employer to replace older equipment.
Some examples of construction equipment accidents and failure include:
- Failed hydraulic lines
- Failed compressed air lines
- Failed bolts
- Failed ladders
- Failed cables
- Failed brake lines
Almost any piece of equipment or tool has the potential to fail. Every day, construction workers suffer lasting injuries as a result of contact with defective drills, defective saws, defective sanders, defective pumps, defective nail guns, defective earth mover equipment, defective jackhammers, defective power tools, defective pressure tanks and other worn, defective or unsafe equipment. There is also the possibility of suffering catastrophic injuries as a result of part failure on skid steers, bulldozers, lifts, cranes, backhoes, cherry pickers and forklifts.
If it is a smaller part that fails, workers can be injured when metal, saw blades, drill bits, rubber hosing or nails go airborne. This can result in puncture wounds, which can be especially dangerous if any of the material strikes the face or neck.
In the event of motorized equipment failure, the potential for injury is even higher, as that is when we see tires spinning, booms swinging, buckets dropping and equipment overturning. These types of injuries are often very serious, and may include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries/brain trauma
- Neck and spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Internal injuries
Because jobsites are often noisy and crowded, it can make communicating an imminent danger very difficult. That’s why companies need to have good practices and policies in place when it comes to training workers, inspecting equipment and making sure problems are addressed right away.Equipment Failure Cause Requires Investigation
Workers who have suffered injury as a result of an equipment accident often had no idea they were at risk of such danger. As such, they were not prepared to protect themselves.
Equipment can be unsafe for a number of reasons, but typically, problems stem from one of three sources:
- The equipment is inherently unsafe by its nature.
- The equipment is improperly used in an unsafe manner.
- The equipment is defective, making it abnormally unsafe.
If equipment is inherently unsafe, manufacturers must ensure the danger is clearly indicated to users with visible markings. This ensures workers will understand the risks prior to using the equipment. When the use of inherently dangerous equipment is required, employers need to make sure workers have the right training so it won’t be used in a dangerous manner. In some cases, workers may need close supervision to make sure there are no mistakes.
Construction equipment often sustains heavy wear-and-tear, and if the company isn’t careful to conduct routine inspections, and repair and replace as necessary, accidents can occur.
However, defects can also occur as a result of poor design or a mistake in the manufacturing process. The reason for the accident or failure will govern how our experienced legal team will approach a client’s case.
For example, if a worker falls due to the failure of a safety harness, we would begin a careful assessment of why the harness failed. If it was defectively designed, we could explore a product liability lawsuit. If the issue is failure to maintain or replace, it is likely workers’ compensation would be the exclusive remedy, assuming the equipment was owned and maintained solely by the employer.
Even when a worker receives workers’ compensation, there may still be possibility of third-party litigation, depending on the circumstances leading to the accident. If another company was responsible for maintenance of the harnesses, that company could possibly be held liable for injury.
If a worker is injured by machinery failure or defective equipment, it’s likely the case will require a detailed investigation of both the equipment and the jobsite conditions responsible for the accident.
Generally, the goal is to prove there was a design defect, manufacturing flaw or error, or some failure to provide a warning of known or possible dangers. This investigation should begin as soon as possible after the accident, in order to preserve crucial evidence and secure necessary witness testimony.
Contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. There are no fees or costs unless we win. Offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and Port Charlotte.
Call 800-646-1210 for a Free Consultation