Construction is regularly cited as one of the most hazardous industries in the country. In the most recent report available, construction jobs earned 4 slots out of the top 20 most dangerous jobs in America. Construction workers often perform a variety of perilous jobs, from working at great heights, to interacting with powerful tools and large equipment.
Workers who operate heavy machinery such as bulldozers, cranes, derricks, front end loaders, and backhoes, are at a particularly high risk of potentially fatal injuries. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), accidents involving heavy equipment account for 23% of construction fatalities.
If a mistake is made on a construction site, and you or your family member have suffered an injury or fatality due to malfunctioning machinery or defective tools, you no doubt have many questions as to what legal options you have. The experienced lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can provide you the opportunity to bring those responsible to justice.
The Size of Construction Vehicles Makes Them Extremely Dangerous
The 5 Most Dangerous Heavy Machines
There are many types of heavy machines and equipment commonly used in construction. Their sheer weight and massive size require properly trained operators and maintenance to ensure safe operation.
While any large machine can be dangerous, CPWR has identified the top 5 most deadly pieces of equipment as:
- Cranes: Cranes have been ranked as the single most deadly piece of heavy machinery used on construction sites for the past 20 years. Cranes are not only dangerous to those operating them, but also to those around them due to imbalance of the crane, or the accidental dropping of a crane’s load. Bystanders are also at risk from crane accidents.
- Bulldozers: Bulldozers can weigh more than any other piece of equipment on a construction site, and are responsible for a high number of fatalities every year. Dangers to workers include being trapped or crushed beneath bulldozers or inside of them.
- Dump trucks: Dump trucks use hydraulics to lift their beds, and a mechanical failure in the machinery can cause the truck to lose control of that elevation, causing potentially fatal injuries to anyone in its way.
- Backhoes: Backhoes have a shovel in front and a bucket in the back for digging, meaning that it is dangerous at both ends of the vehicle. A worker can be pushed by the shovel, struck by the bucket, or run over by the machine itself.
- Excavators: An excavator is similar to a backhoe, but without the shovel attached to the front. Their additional dangers come from their overhead utility lines, which can cause electrocution, or from their hydraulics malfunctioning causing the machine to topple over.
What Causes Equipment to Malfunction?
The cost of purchasing even one piece of heavy machinery by construction companies can be upwards of $500,000. Companies need to invest in not only the actual piece of equipment, but proper training and maintenance as well. All too often, companies try to cut corners in an effort to reduce spending, leading to malfunctioning equipment.
The most common causes of a machine malfunctioning are:
- Poor or improper maintenance of equipment: When companies skip regularly scheduled maintenance for equipment it can cause sudden failures that can lead to severe injuries.
- Incorrect storage: Machines that are left out in the elements, or have electrical components damaged by rodents, can be at risk for electrical failures.
- Inadequate training of operators: Construction companies are responsible for properly training all operators of heavy machinery.
- Overworking machinery: Working on a tight schedule can lead companies to overusing their machines, leading to mechanical failures that can be fatal to operators and bystanders.
- Using cheap or inferior fuel: An off-brand fuel or vehicle fluid may be cheaper to purchase, but can damage machinery in the long run.
The Consequences of a Machinery Malfunction Can Be Fatal
Connect With a Skilled Malfunctioning Equipment Attorney Today
Unfortunately, many accidents involving malfunctioning machinery or equipment on construction sites could have been prevented if proper procedures had been followed. When the property owner, supervisor, manager, contractor, subcontractor, or equipment maker fails to put the safety of workers first, they should be held responsible for the harm caused.
Suffering a construction workplace injury can be very stressful, so let our experienced attorneys, who understand the complex laws that apply to these cases, provide you legal support. Contact our team of attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt today by filling out our form or calling 1-866-333-7715.