How to Avoid Work Accidents Caused During Equipment Maintenance
Equipment maintenance can be dangerous work, but the accidents that cause employee injuries and, at worst, fatalities can be prevented.
Those are the conclusions of Safety + Health, the Official Magazine of the National Safety Council Congress & Expo. Citing a recent Canadian report, the article says the use of lockout/tagout and other methods to control hazardous energy when servicing and maintaining mobile equipment, such as forklifts, cranes and loaders, is essential to worker safety.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines lockout/tagout as “specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.”
The Robert Sauvé Research Institute in Occupational Health and Safety, a Canadian scientific research organization, attributes most incidents to “improvised work procedures,” such as failing to completely shut down a machine before maintenance. Mobile equipment, in particular, presents mechanical, electrical, chemical, hydraulic and other hazards.
Protecting Workers With a Safe Energy Control Program
- The Canadian researchers recommend employers institute programs that:
- Include involvement from supervisors, mechanics and machine operators.
- Account for all types of mobile equipment and energy control work.
- Utilize mobile equipment designed to limit tasks completed in the danger zone.
- Require the use of easy-to-locate, lockable battery master switches and lockable energy cutoff devices.
- Include separate startup devices for equipment and controlling ignition keys. (The use of ignition keys is not a substitute for personal padlocks.)
When You’ve Been Injured, Seek Legal Help
Unfortunately, many employers choose to ignore basic worker safety by not implementing a safe energy control program. Their excuses can include ignorance, not wanting to spend money on safety training, or simply believing they can blame workers for accidents.
If you’ve been injured on the job, the odds may seem to be against you. Your injuries may require extensive treatment, keeping you out of work, unable to provide for your family or to pay household and rising medical bills. You may think you qualify for workers’ compensation, but the process is a legal and bureaucratic maze that probably seems designed to discourage you. Aware of your desperation, an insurance company may pressure you to accept a lowball financial settlement.
Turn the odds to your favor by contacting Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer Anthony R. Vellner at Vellner Law, P.C. With offices in Allentown and Bethlehem, he has handled cases involving on-the-job accidents throughout the Lehigh Valley since 1991.
He knows the local legal system. He knows how to handle employers trying to avoid or shift blame for your accident. He knows how to deal with insurance companies. He also knows how to treat you with the respect and compassion that you deserve while securing justice and fair financial compensation.
Contact him for a free consultation today.