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Why Are Machine Guards Important?

Contact a Downingtown Workers' Compensation Lawyer at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC

Numerous heavy machinery are used at an industrial or construction work site. The machinery may have sharp pieces or an active motor that workers should never touch. These pieces of machinery can and should have guards that keep you from coming into contact with whatever may hurt you. If you have been injured on the job, you would usually file a workers’ compensation claim. Cases involving machine guards could potentially lead to a personal injury lawsuit.

Types of Machine Guards That Can Protect You

Many types of machine guards can keep you safe, including:

  • Fixed guards are intended to keep you from being exposed to the point where the machine is being operated. These guards cannot and should not be removed.
  • Some adjustable guards can be moved to accommodate how the machine operates. Adjustable does not mean that the guard should be removed entirely.
  • Self-adjusting guards can automatically work to protect you without any effort on your part.
  • Interlocking guards can shut the machine down when the guard is removed.

Cases With Machine Guards

Injuries involving machine guards, or the lack thereof, often present more complex factual patterns than the more “standard” workers’ compensation claim. Your attorney would need to thoroughly investigate what happened to determine whether you may file a lawsuit or must proceed through the workers’ compensation system.

Potential Liability Lawsuits for Machine Guard Injuries

If the manufacturer has done their job correctly, the chances that you may suffer an injury from heavy machinery may be dramatically cut. However, many machine guard injuries result from the machinery itself. If you can establish that the third-party manufacturer was to blame for your injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit. In these cases, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation.

Your Employer May Try to Blame You

You may still be injured from using machinery in the workplace. Note that you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even if you were at fault for your own injury. Workers’ compensation does not punish an employee for their own negligence; it only penalizes them for intentional actions. Even if you made a mistake and misused the machine, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

If the machine guards were removed from a piece of machinery, it could change the nature of your claim. Your employer may allege that you were the one who removed the guards. Then, they may try to deny your claim altogether, claiming that you intentionally put yourself in danger. Your employer may not admit to removing guards because it would expose them to substantial liability.

Your Employer May Be Sued for Removing Machine Guards

Employers may alter a machine guard or remove it altogether. They want the machine to perform better and may think that a machine guard could detract from productivity. Employers may face legal consequences for those actions besides OSHA fines.

If an employer removes the machine guards, it may be considered an intentional action that deliberately exposes you to harm that is substantially certain to occur. Usually, your employer is immune from personal injury lawsuits because they have paid for workers’ compensation insurance. However, when your employer has deliberately injured you, they are subject to being sued.

Contact a Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC

A Downingtown workers’ compensation lawyer at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC can evaluate your case and explain your potential legal options. The first step is to contact one of our lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation. Call us at 610-594-1600 or contact us online. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.