Workers who experience crushing injuries are often permanently disabled. Heavy machinery and lax safety standards are a dangerous combination that can end a career in mere moments. Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are well aware of the permanent damage crushing injuries can have. When a worker’s arms, hands, legs, or feet are crushed, it can result in permanent disfigurement, loss of limb function, or amputation. These injuries can make it difficult, if not impossible for workers to continue working within their profession.
The most recent crushing injury in Illinois occurred when an employee of Metals USA in Northbrook was crushed while operating steel fabrication equipment. The worker became entangled within a piece of steel-rolling equipment. His lower extremities were crushed by the machine and he was trapped for nearly 30 minutes before he could be extracted. The incident highlights the very real dangers of working within the steel manufacturing sector.
Common Causes of Crushing Injuries
Moving Parts – Workers required to work with heavy machinery are at considerable risk of crushing injuries. Equipment used in manufacturing processes is especially dangerous. Workers can easily become entangled within and subsequently crushed by punch presses and brake presses, and equipment used for shearing metal.
Moving Equipment – Mobile equipment such as forklifts, cement trucks, dump trucks, semi-trucks, steamrollers, backhoes, etc. can roll over and crush workers in their path. Often, these moving pieces of machinery have significant blind spots that make it impossible for operators to see workers before they are struck. These machines pose an increased risk on crowded construction sites that require workers to operate within close proximity to these dangerous tools.
Collapses – Workers can become trapped beneath stacks of cement bags, palettes of goods, or construction materials. When materials are improperly stacked, they pose a risk to anyone who passes by or attempts to handle the stack. Frequently, these collapses occur after safety standards and signs of instability are ignored. Another common cause of crushing injuries are trench collapses that occur when trenches are improperly designed or secured. On average, 50 workers are killed in trench collapses every year.
A Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can help pursue compensation from employers, property owners, contractors, or subcontractors whose negligent actions create conditions that lead to crushing injuries. In Illinois, workers may seek compensation for the treatment of injuries, permanent disfigurement, loss of limb function, and loss of income the injury causes.