Faulty Equipment

Malfunctioning or defective equipment – be it heavy industrial vehicles like cranes, forklifts and hydraulic lifts, or hand tools – cause thousands of injuries, including amputations and crushing injuries every year.

Most workers, especially those in the manufacturing, construction and transportation industries, are required to operate heavy industrial equipment, large industrial vehicles, hand tools and other equipment as part of their daily job.  Unfortunately, very often, the equipment or tools are not in a safe condition, or may be malfunctioning.  This poses a serious injury risk, and in some cases, those injuries can be serious enough to cause loss of limbs.  Some of the injuries that can be caused by malfunctioning equipment include amputations of limbs or fingers, and even crushing injuries.

A worker who suffers finger or hand amputations, crushing injuries, internal injuries and other injuries associated with defective equipment may have his chances of returning to work dramatically reduced.

Causes of equipment-related injuries

Defective equipment

A manufacturing or design defect in the equipment can increase the risk of an accident.  Workers who have been injured by a piece of defective equipment may have another source of compensation.  They may be able to name the manufacturer or distributor of the equipment in a third party lawsuit.

The Danger of Defective Equipment

In February 2014, General Motors announced that a defective switch would lead to a recall of more than 1.6 million cars. There were allegedly 303 deaths from car accidents in which the air bag failed to deploy due to a defective ignition switch. Unfortunately, these deaths occurred over a 10 year span in which General Motors denied its responsibility for the accidents. With increasing technology, one can never be sure of mistakes that arrive due to technological error. According to CNN, United States prosecutors will launch an investigation regarding General Motors. 

In a related story, on December 31, 2009, Hasaya Chansuthus was driving her 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt in the rain in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in the early morning. The accident report stated that she sideswiped another car and then crashed into a tree at speeds approaching 70 miles per hour. The airbags did not deploy during the car accident. She also struck the steering wheel, which suggested that the seat belt had not properly locked. The family did not initially know that there had been problems with the equipment.

Another Car Company Conceals Information

Unfortunately, General Motors is not the only company under fire for not correctly handling the reporting of vehicular malfunctions. Toyota has recently agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle a U.S. investigation regarding defective equipment leading to car accidents and deaths. They also admitted to concealing information regarding defective equipment from the public. It is also not the first time that the company has had problems with withholding information from consumers that may have potentially devastating effects on their safety.

Car companies have put their profits ahead of the safety of their consumers. Even when they are confronted with evidence that shows they are responsible for accidents and deaths, they often stall and withhold information from consumers.

Poorly maintained equipment

Whatever the type of equipment, it needs to undergo periodic maintenance in order to retain its functionality and remain safe for use.  Employers must make sure that all pieces of equipment are well-maintained, and are safe for workers to use, before these are put in operation.

Lack of repairs

When a piece of equipment has been found to be unsafe, and repairs are recommended, then these repairs must be carried out, before the equipment can be used any further.  Until repairs are carried out, the equipment must be put aside to avoid injuries.

Lack of worker training

The modern workplace includes highly sophisticated machinery that increases productivity, and enhances efficiency.  Such equipment can be safe to use, and can be a great blessing to workers because it reduces the physical labor involved.  However, it is very important that workers be trained properly in the use of such equipment before they are allowed to begin operating it.  Lack of training can often cause devastating injuries.

The California workplace accident lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP represent victims who have been injured in workplace accidents in the Walnut Creek area and across California.