Punch presses are powerful machines vital to manufacturing, particularly industries that include metalworking in the creation of devices or products. When used properly and functioning correctly, these machines can create holes in thick pieces of metal. When a malfunction occurs, however, the size and power of these machines poses a danger to their operators and others nearby. Training and maintenance is vital to ensure workers are safe, otherwise catastrophic injuries and deaths can occur.
All workers deserve a safe work environment, where they know they will go home at the end of their shift. When employers fail to provide safety, workers can be seriously injured, perhaps fatally, while just trying to do their jobs. People injured on the job have options, including workers' compensation, to help with the pain, suffering, and expenses involved in workplace injuries. Call a top NY personal injury lawyer at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 and we can discuss your options.
Safe operation of punch presses allows manufacturers to make all kinds of products, including those for commercial sale and those used by other manufacturers in various industries. When these devices malfunction, or are not maintained, serious injuries can occur. These risks include:
- Contact accidents: Any kind of accident in which the moving parts of a punch press come into contact with a user while in operation. If, for example, an operator's hand is in the work area while the punch press activates, part or all of the hand may be amputated.
- Caught objects: Objects can become caught on the moving parts of a punch press. Hair, loose clothing, and other items can be pulled and constricted by the moving punch press, potentially resulting in strangulation.
- Sudden activation: If a punch press malfunctions, it might activate without the operator pressing the buttons required for it to do so. This can put the operator and others at risk, since typical safety precautions are not likely in place when activation occurs unexpectedly.
- Electrocution: Improper maintenance or design can also create the risk of electric shock to a punch press operator or someone doing maintenance on it. This can cause serious burns and internal injuries.
The owner of a punch press and the business that uses it should oversee all of these factors and ensure workers are safe while using such machines, by enforcing:
- Training: Punch press operators should typically have months of training, covering everything in the operation manual for the punch press and safety procedures. Employers must allow for this training, and anyone who does not have training should never be allowed to operate the machine.
- Safeguards: Physical safeguards should be placed on punch presses and used by their operators, including shields around moving parts. Restraints are often worn by operators that pull their hands or body away from the work area while the punch press is active.
- Maintenance: Routine inspections and maintenance are essential to ensure punch presses continue to work properly and do not pose an unexpected danger to operators. Tagout/lockout procedures should be used to ensure a punch press cannot be operated while maintenance is being performed. This reduces the chance of electric shock to the person performing repairs, and prevents injuries due to unexpected activation and machine movement.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a punch press accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Improper training, lack of safety precautions, poor maintenance, and manufacturing errors can all cause accidents that leave workers mutilated or worse. Take action and call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation about your situation. If there is compensation available for you, we will fight to get it.