Regardless of whether you work in a facility that manufactures farm equipment, ammunition, sports equipment, or food and beverages, you will face hazards that could cause life-changing injuries. Although each plant poses unique risks, the manufacturing, fabrication and assembly industries have inherent dangers with which you will have to deal. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes specific regulations for some of the hazards, the agency’s general standards govern the others.
Regardless of how many years you have worked without suffering injuries, you will face significant risks during each shift you work. For that reason, it is essential to know your rights in the event of an injury. Any of the following hazards could cause injuries that might result in temporary disabilities, and it would be sensible to understand how to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
Most common safety hazards in manufacturing
If you learn to recognize the following dangers in your workplace, you may limit the chances of suffering serious injuries:
- Energy source control: One of the most common hazards involve energy sources such as mechanical, electrical and chemical equipment and the safe isolation of energy during cleaning, maintenance and repairs. Without proper lockout/tagout procedures, unexpected energy releases or machine startups can cause severe injuries or even death.
- Powered industrial vehicles: Forklifts, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks and any other industrial vehicles will always pose life-threatening dangers. If you work on or near such a vehicle, you will be at risk of suffering crush injuries, fractured bones, head trauma and other catastrophic injuries.
- Falls: The list of potential fall risks in factories is endless. While specific tasks may take you to work at dangerous heights, serious fall hazards exist on the floor level where slippery areas and randomly placed objects can cause slip and trip hazards.
- Electrical hazards: Exposed electrical wires, improperly installed equipment, unlocked electrical panels and many other dangers threaten your safety, even if you are not an electrician. Exacerbated risks exist in winter months when the combination of wetness from snow or puddles of water on your boots and unprotected electrical wires can cause electrocutions.
- Machine guarding: Operating heavy machinery is par for the course in any manufacturing plant, and exposed, moving machine parts pose severe hazards. Improperly installed or missing machine guards can cause an amputation injury in the blink of an eye.
Although an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you with the navigation of a benefits claim, it is essential to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. From there, legal counsel can take over the administrative and legal proceedings of the claims process on your behalf. Typical compensation covers medical expenses and lost wages, but you might be eligible for additional benefits if your injury caused a permanent disability.