Becoming stuck in a piece of machinery is one of the many ways in which industrial plant workers can become injured on the job. Many of these serious and fatal injuries occur at plants when workers, co-workers and employers ignore safety rules or otherwise act in a careless manner.
Workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina can help injured workers and their families to get the medical care they need and to pay their bills while they are in the process of recovering.
Common Industrial Plant Injuries
Power plants and manufacturing plants are hazardous areas. It is easy for an industrial worker to be hurt in a plant in accidents that involve:
- Falls from catwalks or ladders or down stairs. When a plant employee is working above ground level, the employee is supposed to be supplied with fall arrest devices or other equipment that will prevent the worker from suffering a serious or fatal fall. However, even a fall from a ladder can result in serious injuries. Workers may suffer spine and neck injuries or traumatic brain injury in such falls.
- Electrocution from faulty wiring or machinery that has not been properly locked out/tagged out. A worker who touches a live electrical current can suffer a deadly shock injury that can stop the worker’s heart or impact the worker’s heart rhythm. Electrocution can be deadly. Even when it is non-fatal, a worker who suffers electrocution can be left with severe, third-degree burns that require significant medical care to treat.
- Radiation exposure. This is especially a concern for workers at nuclear power plants. Radiation can lead to long-term conditions such as cancer. Exposure to high concentrations of radiation can also cause serious burn injuries. Employees should be given appropriate safety gear whenever they may be exposed to radioactive materials.
- Crushed by machinery. When part of a person’s body – or the person’s entire body – becomes stuck in the moving parts of an industrial machine, it can lead to deadly injuries. A person can become stuck in machinery if the person falls into it or has a piece of loose clothing that becomes entangled in the machine. A machinery-related accident can result in the loss of a limb, or it can crush the worker to death.
- Painful, debilitating back injuries can be suffered due to overexertion. These injuries can occur if an employee attempts to lift a load that is too heavy for him or her or lifts a load in an improper manner. Overexertion injuries can also come from twisting one’s back too hard or engaging in an unnatural movement.
Common Injuries in Chemical Plants
In addition to the dangers discussed above in relation to power plants and manufacturing plants, chemical plants present their own unique dangers.
Depending on the precise chemicals used or produced at the chemical plant, workers must be on guard against:
- Toxic fumes. If inhaled, these fumes can cause dizziness, nausea, or other unpleasant side effects. If enough fumes are inhaled, the worker can become seriously ill.
- Flammable fumes. When fumes accumulate in small, compact areas of the plant, they can ignite or explode if a spark or other heat source is placed in close proximity to the fumes.
- Chemical burns from chemical spills. These burns can be extremely painful and require immediate medical attention in order to protect the worker’s life.
- Contact with chemicals. When chemicals come into contact with the worker’s eyes, it can cause blindness. Sometimes, chemical fumes that are inhaled can cause life-threatening internal burns to the worker’s organs.
Chemical plants are required to provide their employees with proper protective equipment and ensure that employees know how to properly use the safety equipment.
What Should You Do After an Industrial Plan Accident?
If you have been seriously hurt in an industrial plant accident, you should obtain immediate medical care from the nearest hospital emergency room.
Once you have received the care you need – or if you do not need immediate medical care – you must notify your employer of your workplace accident in order to get the claims process started. This notification should be given as soon as possible, but no later than 90 days after the injury occurs. The notice should be given in writing.
Upon being notified of your injury or illness, your employer should give you forms to complete so that your employer can submit them to its workers’ compensation insurer. This allows you to begin receiving medical benefits for your treatment and benefits that cover a portion of the wages you may lose if a doctor says you are unable to work.
The insurer can require you to be examined by a doctor of its choice.
The workers’ compensation insurer may choose to deny your claim for benefits, reduce the amount of benefits you are receiving or terminate your benefits if it feels you are no longer entitled to such benefits.
If this happens, you should not wait to get help from an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. You have rights that must be protected if an insurer wrongfully tries to deny, delay, reduce or stop your benefits.
If you have been injured at work in Florence or elsewhere in South Carolina and need assistance in obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, contact Jebaily Law Firm, P.A., by phone or through our online form. We can provide a timely, free and confidential consultation.