Industrial workers face many potential dangers every day at work. Conveyor belts are one such example. Conveyor belt accidents lead to roughly 9,000 injuries per year, along with dozens of fatalities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Once workers become caught in a conveyor belt, they can suffer injuries like amputations, lacerations, burns, degloving injuries, bone fractures and death. In many circumstances, others may be to blame, whether totally or at least in part. These causes include a failure to perform the necessary maintenance on the plant’s machinery, defects in the machinery, and improper training. If you’ve been hurt in a conveyor belt accident, you should reach out without delay to an experienced Chicago work injury attorney to discover what legal options exist for you to receive the compensation you need.
Back in the fall, a very serious injury accident occurred at a packaging plant in Kane County. According to a kcchronicle.com report, the accident involved a temporary worker who became trapped in a conveyor belt assembly early one morning. The maintenance workers were able to take the conveyor belt apart and get the woman free before the fire department arrived. Despite being freed, the woman still faced serious medical issues. She was transported by helicopter to a nearby Level I trauma center with life-threatening injuries. (Level I is the highest level of trauma care.)
A later report indicated that, despite the extreme injuries, the woman survived. News reports did not divulge the results of the OSHA investigation, so it is not known exactly what caused this accident in Kane County.
There are actually several different ways in which a conveyor belt might be defective in its design or its assembly. For one thing, a failure to install guards to protect potential pinch points may be something that allows a worker to become caught in that pinch point and injured. A conveyor belt set at a speed too fast can cause crush injuries. Additionally, a conveyor belt should come with emergency stops that are close to all pinch points and readily reachable by workers. Electrical interlocks can help ensure that, if the belt is being maintained, inspected or cleaned, the belt cannot be started by anyone until all covers and guards have been returned to their original positions.
Sometimes, a worker injured in a conveyor belt accident may be entitled only to workers’ compensation benefits. That’s not always the case, though. If you have the right evidence, you may be entitled to receive civil court damages (which is separate and on top of any workers compensation benefits you get.) For example, if the conveyor belt that injured you was designed in a defective way, then you may be able to sue and collect from the belt manufacturer. If the belt that injured you was assembled in a defective way and was assembled by a third-party contractor, then you may be able to recover compensation from that contractor.
To make sure you are getting the advice and legal representation you need for your conveyor belt accident, count on the skilled Chicago workplace injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys have many years of helping injured industrial workers to get the financial compensation they need. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.