One of the most dangerous types of accidents that can occur in a factory is known as a machine guarding accident. A machine guarding accident involves a machine what was not properly guarding so as to prevent a worker from getting an arm, leg, hand, or other body part trapped in a piece of moving machinery. An improperly guarded machine can easily result in serious personal injury or even death.
According to a recent news article from WCPO, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just levied a substantial fine against a baking factory after a worker suffered a partial amputation of his arm while cleaning one of the machines at the factory. The fine was just under $150,000.
As our Boston workers’ compensation attorney can explain, in the Commonwealth, when a worker suffers an amputation of a hand, arm, leg, or foot, while on the job, the workers will likely be entitled to special payment for that amputation in addition to the standard workers’ compensation benefits.
Officially, those additional benefits are known as Permanent Loss of Function, Scarring, and Disfigurement Benefits under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act. This provision provides for additional benefits for the loss of vision or the loss of an eye, scarring of the head, neck and hands, and partial or total amputation.
The manner is which the amputation damages are calculated in a Boston workers’ compensation case is to take the state average weekly wage (SAWW) multiplied by 43 if the amputation was to a dominant arm. If the injury was to a non-dominant arm, the SAWW will be multiplied by 39. The SAWW will be multiplied by 96 if it is to both arms. There is a lower number for a hand-only amputation, but it is still a significant payment. Again, it is important to remember that these benefits are often paid in a single lump sum payment and are in addition to the standard monthly workers’ compensation benefits award.
In the case at the bread factory, the worker, who was 28 years old, was using what is known as an air wand to blow breadcrumbs out of a conveyor belt when he got his arm caught in the moving machinery and suffered an amputation of his arm below the elbow. OSHA referred to this as a debilitating injury.
One of the problems that often goes along with a machine guarding issue is failure to have a lockout system in place. It is often necessary to clean out a machine in a way that requires the workers to turn the machine off and then use a lock out device to prevent someone else from turning it on while they are servicing the machine. A lock out device is a lock that a worker can place on the control panel or on switch or a machine and then they hold the key. This should first alert people that the machine has been locked out, and prevent them form using it.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Feds cite Klosterman Baking after worker’s arm amputated, November 10, 2016, WCPO
More Blog Entries:
Parr v. Breeden – Supervisor Co-Workers Not Liable Under Workers’ Comp Exclusive Remedy, July 3, 2016, Boston Work Accident Lawyer Blog