The manufacturing industry is filled with innumerable hazards for workers. Heavy, complicated machinery, continuous repetitive movements, exposure to sparks, intense heat, or toxic chemicals and fumes are among the dangers that makes the industry particularly prone to injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the manufacturing industry accounted for 30.3% of all private industry occupational illness cases in 2011 – one of the highest rates across all U.S. industry sectors. Over 129,000 manufacturing workers suffered non-fatal injuries in that year and more than 4,600 workers died.
Common Manufacturing Injuries
- Crushing injuries: Body parts sometimes are crushed in heavy machinery or by tools in manufacturing plants. Hand and finger injuries are the most common.
- Eye injuries: Nearly 52% of all reported eye injuries originated either in the manufacturing and retail sectors, according to the BLS. Typical eye injuries included abrasions, scratches, and foreign bodies (e.g., splinters and chips). Such injuries were generally caused by debris striking the eye or rubbing foreign matter into the eye.
- Head injuries: Multi-level manufacturing sites carry an increased risk of falling debris, which can strike the head of worker and cause serious injuries, including bruising, laceration and concussion. Falling is also a common cause of head injuries.
- Back problems: Slip and falls, lifting and carrying heavy goods or equipment, falling off a ladder or scaffolding are typical causes of back problems.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries: Over time, repetitive movements can cause tendons, muscles, nerves and joints and to become overused and cause great pain. RSI can affect almost every part of the musculoskeletal system, but the hands, fingers, neck, elbows, knees, and feet are most commonly affected.
- Amputation: Heavy, dangerous machinery can amputate limbs and digits when workers aren’t properly trained in machine use, safety equipment is not provided or used, or the worker has a moment of inattention while using the machine.
Safety Tips at a Manufacturing Plant
- Wear task-appropriate protective gear and clothing
- Insist upon adequate training before using unfamiliar equipment or tools
- Keep a clean worksite to avoid slips and falls or exposure to hazardous materials
- Take regular breaks or switch to a different activity when performing repetitive tasks
- Do not use gear or tools that are in poor condition
- Look out for the safety of fellow workers.
Concerned about the Safety of your Manufacturing Plant
California manufacturer workers with safety concerns about their worksite should file a complaint at their local Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Confidentiality is assured when filing a complaint, unless you choose to have your name disclosed.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a manufacturing job, contact an experienced manufacturing worker accident attorney. An experienced attorney can guide you through the workers’ compensation process, assess whether a third-party lawsuit is appropriate, and help you receive the full and fair compensation to which you’re entitled.
The manufacturing accident lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP are committed to helping San Francisco Bay Area manufacturing workers who have been injured in factories and manufacturing plants across California. Contact us for a free consultation 925-938-2000.