Injuries On the Job Caused by Equipment

Certain types of jobs pose a far higher risk to employees than others. Construction workers, oil rig workers, and miners are just a few of the occupations having a high risk of suffering from injuries. Accidents in the workplace can and do happen all the time.

Equipment failure is a common cause of on-the-job accidents and injuries. When it comes to equipment failing to function as intended, a malfunctioning nail gun can be just as dangerous as a faulty set of brakes on a company vehicle. Lacerations, broken bones, amputations, brain injuries, head and neck trauma, puncture wounds, internal injuries, chemical exposure, and death are all examples of injuries workers may sustain on the job as a direct result of an equipment failure.

Most Common Causes of Equipment Failures

Equipment can fail for any number of reasons. When equipment fails while a worker is performing a job-related task, the results can be disastrous. Some of the most common causes of equipment failures are due to:

  • Corrosion
  • Mechanical wear and tear
  • Misuse
  • Faulty design
  • Manufacturing error
  • Lack of proper warning or instruction
  • Lack of proper training
  • Failure to maintain
  • Negligence

When equipment fails, are injuries covered by workers’ compensation?

Employers are required by law to not only provide a safe workplace for their employees but to provide proper training on equipment as well. If an individual is injured or killed due to equipment failure, the victim (as well as his or her family members) has the right to seek compensation through workers’ compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated program that provides benefits to workers, regardless of who was at fault, for job-related injuries and illnesses.

Not all employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Those who do not are leaving themselves and their businesses open to lawsuits and other legal actions. In cases where an employer does not have workers’ comp coverage for its employees, an injured employee may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Employees are not allowed to seek multiple benefits by filing both a workers’ comp claim and a personal lawsuit.

When an Injured Worker May Be Eligible to File a Third-Party Lawsuit

In cases where equipment failure is directly responsible for causing a worker’s injuries, that worker may be eligible to file a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer. Manufacturers have a legal responsibility for ensuring the safety of any product or piece of equipment they produce and make available for sale. A worker injured by defective or unreasonably dangerous equipment has a potential products liability claim against entities that designed, manufactured, distributed and sold the equipment. Third party lawsuits can be pursued separately from pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.