If you work in the manufacturing industry, you will risk catastrophic injuries or worse every time you report for duty. All factories are dangerous workplaces, from candle making to battery manufacturing, and everything in between. Certain aspects of production that are present in all factories will always be hazardous. For that reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety standards to protect workers nationwide, including Minnesota.
Sadly, many employers prioritize profits over workers’ safety, and if you work in a hazardous environment without the necessary protection, you might become a victim to life-changing injuries that could leave you with temporary or permanent disabilities.
Common manufacturing hazards
While it might help to be aware of the dangers, if there is no established safety culture in your place of work, you risk injuries in any of the following ways:
- Exposure to dangerous machines: Without proper guarding, you could make contact with moving or rotating machine parts if you should reach to remove a blockage or for any other reason. It can snag your sleeve or your hair to pull you into the machine, causing amputation of a finger, hand or arm, or even your death.
- Exposure to energized equipment: If your employer does not comply with regulations to install lockout/tagout devices, or monitor the use of such equipment, you could risk unanticipated activation of a machine. LOTO procedures are there to prevent fatalities of catastrophic injuries through unexpected activation while you service, repair or clean a machine.
- Exposure to electrical hazards: Not only electricians and engineers face electrical hazards. If you encounter exposed wires, improperly installed equipment, unlocked distribution boards and other dangers, you can be at risk of electrocution, or severe electrical burns.
- Exposure to fall hazards: Falls can occur on ground level or from elevated work areas, which might even be above containers with hazardous chemicals. Regardless of the height from which you fall, injuries could include anything from mere bruises to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractured bones or dislocated hips or shoulder joints.
- Exposure to industrial trucks: Motorized equipment like platform trucks, motorized hand trucks, forklifts and more pose multiple dangers. While you risk serious fall injuries if you operate such a vehicle, if you are on the floor level, it can knock you down, run over you, or crush you against a wall or another fixed object.
Along with these five hazards, the particular manufacturing plant in which you work might pose even more dangers that could cause debilitating injuries.
Coping with the consequences of a catastrophic workplace injury can be overwhelming, especially if you have to care for a family. Although the Minnesota workers’ compensation will likely have your back, dealing with the benefits claims process at such a difficult time can be daunting. Fortunately, you can utilize the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can navigate the claims process and work to secure maximum benefits under applicable laws.