As an employer, you have an obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment for your employees. This includes taking measures to prevent accidents from happening in the first place, as well as having procedures in place in case an accident does occur.
No one ever wants to think about their employee being injured. But, unfortunately, accidents do happen. If your employee is injured by a machine at work, it’s essential to know what to do to help them—and your business—recover.
Dangers of Machines in the Workplace
There are various ways workers can be injured by machines in the workplace. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some of the most common hazards include:
- being caught in between two objects, such as a worker’s clothing getting seen in a machine’s parts
- being struck by an object, such as a flying piece of metal or a machine part that breaks off
- coming into contact with harmful substances, such as chemicals or electricity
- slips, trips, and falls, especially if there is a wet or oily substance on the floor near the machines.
How to help your employees
accidents can and do happen despite the safety measures you have in place. If one of your employees is injured by a machine at work, you can do a few things to help them—and your business—recover.
Get medical help for your employee right away.
This is, of course, the first and most crucial step to take after any type of workplace injury. If the damage is serious, call 911 or have someone drive them to the nearest hospital emergency room. If it’s not an emergency, but medical attention is still needed, make sure they see their regular doctor or a specialist as soon as possible.
Help them sue the machine manufacturer
In some cases, accidents happen due to faulty machines. If this is the case, your employee may be able to sue the machine manufacturer for damages. This can help cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and more. In this case, you will most likely need the testimony of a mechanical, intellectual property expert to help prove that the accident was caused by a defect in the machine. These experts will be able to examine the device and determine if it is defective or not.
Notify your insurance company about the accident and report the claim.
Depending on your business’s insurance policy, you may be required to notify your carrier within a specific time frame after an accident occurs. Be sure to check your policy so you can make the necessary phone calls and fill out any required paperwork promptly.
Cooperate with any investigations into the accident.
In some cases, such as if the accident resulted in a death or severe injury, there might be an official investigation launched by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or another regulatory agency. It’s vital to cooperate with these investigations so that you can get accurate information about what happened and how it can be prevented in the future.
Make changes to prevent similar accidents from happening again in the future.
Once you have all the facts about what happened and why take steps to make changes in your workplace so that similar accidents don’t happen again. This could involve anything from changing the way a particular machine is used to increasing safety training for all employees who work with machinery.
Preventing future accidents
No one ever thinks that they will be the ones to get injured at work. But accidents happen, and sometimes those accidents involve machines. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, you must be aware of the dangers of devices in the workplace and how to prevent injuries.
There are a few steps that you can take to prevent machine-related injuries in your workplace, including:
- Providing proper training for all workers who will be using the machines. Make sure that everyone knows how to operate the machines safely and correctly. This includes knowing how to start and stop the machines, as well as how to properly handle any materials that will be going into or coming out of the machines.
- Inspecting all machines regularly. Look for any potential hazards, such as loose parts or wires, and fix them immediately. It would be best if you also had a qualified technician inspect the machines regularly to ensure that they are in good working order.
- Keeping the work area clean and organized. This will help to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Ensure that materials are properly stored away from walkways and that any spills are cleaned up immediately.
- Posting clear signs and warnings around the machines. Warnings should be posted in both English and Spanish (if applicable).
The bottom line
While no one ever wants to think about their employee being injured on the job, it’s important to be prepared in case it does happen. If your employee is hurt by a machine at work, follow these four steps to help them—and your business—recover: get medical help right away, notify your insurance company and begin reporting the claim, cooperate with any investigations into the accident, and make changes in your workplace to prevent similar accidents from happening again in the future.