The American factory is a source of income for many families across the nation, and has historically provided jobs for entire communities. While factory work can be a source of steady employment, this type of workplace environment also presents a range of potential hazards. Factory workers routinely sustain injuries, which can range from minor to debilitating. If you or a loved one has experienced a serious workplace injury in a factory setting, understanding your rights under the law can make a world of difference in how things play out.
What are some common workplace injuries for factory workers?
Factory work involves manufacturing or assembling goods at a rapid pace. There are a multitude of steps that must be taken, and often a wide range of machinery and equipment to support those operations. This dynamic and fast-paced work environment presents safety challenges, and can contribute to many different types of worker injuries.
Some examples of common factory worker injuries include:
- Slips and falls as workers move from one area of the floor to another
- Machine-related injuries, including crushing, pinching, or grinding injuries
- Falling objects
- Vehicle accidents, including forklift injuries, shipping and delivery injuries, and being struck by moving equipment
- Chemical exposure
- Repetitive stress injuries
Burns are also a major category of workplace injury, and can occur in numerous ways. Chemical burns can happen in an instant, often with little warning. Machinery that has overheated or malfunctioned can also cause serious burns. In some factory work, the risk of burns is an inherent part of the daily workload due to the type of manufacturing and the equipment in use.
What rights do factory workers have?
Everyone has the right to a safe workplace, no matter the type of employment they pursue. While certain professions are inherently more dangerous than others, the employer has an obligation to make every effort to ensure worker safety.
That looks a bit different from one industry to the next, and even from one factory to the next. In certain setting, personal protective equipment is an important part of securing a safe workplace. In other factories, allowing workers to specialize in just a few areas can reduce the risk of injury, as opposed to asking employees to transition between roles without adequate training and experience.
Training is a critical part of workplace safety. Not only should factory workers be kept up-to-date on the latest safety practices for their position, they should also learn the basics of first aid, emergency response, and how to quickly assess their surroundings to check for potential hazards. This training should take place on a rolling basis, and not just when a new worker is brought on.
Factory workers are also entitled to come to work with the understanding that management has done what it takes to evaluate, maintain, and repair all of the machinery and equipment needed to perform the job. Because equipment malfunction is such a common cause of workplace injuries, staying on top of safety issues should be a top priority for management.
While machinery performs much of the work in manufacturing, human labor cannot be undervalued. A common type of workplace injury among factory employees is overuse injury. This occurs when workers are expected to spend hours performing the same tasks or are asked to push their bodies to the limit during their shifts. While some jobs may be more physically demanding than others, no worker should be expected to sacrifice their health for the sake of productivity.
What should I do if I’m injured on the job?
Once you’ve sought medical care for your injury, you need to spend some time considering how the injury took place. If there are conditions in your workplace that led to an injury, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Not all workplace injury cases involve a clear-cut case of negligence or mismanagement. There are many instances in which an injury took place that could have been avoided.
The best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve is to meet with a skilled attorney who specializes in workplace injuries. This gives you a chance to share the details of the circumstances that led up to the injury, as well as what took place in the aftermath.
Your attorney will determine if your situation should be pursued with legal action. You’ll learn what to expect in terms of the timeline, process, and how much involvement you’ll need to have in the case. By the end of the initial meeting you should have all the details you need to make an informed decision on how to proceed.
How should I prepare for a workplace injury meeting?
Be sure to bring in any documentation you have regarding your injury, job expectations, and how the matter was handled by your employer. This includes medical records, any photos you have, information on witnesses or coworkers who can speak on workplace matters, and any training records you may have.
You should also write down any questions you have about the process. As you speak with your legal team it’s easy to forget something or overlook a question, and having everything written down can ensure you get all the information you need.