Last year, a worker at Cintas Industrial Laundry Plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma was killed when he fell from a conveyor belt while trying to unlodge a load of laundry from one of the high-capacity, industrial drying machines. Although not fatal in other cases, it was found that many others had regularly walked on the conveyor belt to unlodge loads of laundry over time, showing the incident was not as uncommon as initially believed. What causes employees to engage in unsafe behavior around heavy machinery and equipment, particularly when they know that machines could easily malfunction when misused?
Workplace injuries of all types occur on a daily basis in every work environment, whether the place of employment is a small office, or a large plant such as Cintas.
In addition to accidents on the job caused by unsafe use of equipment and general carelessness, we are also seeing a rise in work-related homicides. The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the Census of Fatal Occupations Injuries Summary for 2011, and noted in a period of four years an average of 557 workers were killed as result of work-related homicides, seemingly from economic stress, job loss, or measures of desperation. While homicide is one of the most extreme cases, some of the more common injuries involving heavy equipment and machinery point their fingers at operator error, inability of equipment operators and other workers to adhere to safety regulations, improper (or lack of) training and general workplace distractions. These non-fatal workplace injuries account for loss of time from work, leading to financial and emotional distress.
Because lifting heavy loads is required for some professions, back injury is one of the most prevalent workplace injuries. Workers like laborers and material workers, nursing orderlies and attendants, truck drivers and manufacturing plant employers are required to lift heavy loads as part of their jobs. Employers do their best to provide training and resources for “safe” lifting, and employees who don’t want to make waves in an effort to remain employed take on tasks for which they are not suited. Physical demand on employees remains high.
If you have been injured at your place of employment, you may have a long road ahead in terms of recovery and making up time for loss of income. Many us still have to work, and a workplace injury will only delay our chance at regular income providing for our families. Workplace injuries are serious, and should be brought to the attention of an attorney who can help you settle quickly and aggressively. Seek proper counsel before dealing with any company for a workplace injury.