Main Causes of Industrial Accidents in NC

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Industrial accidents are mishaps that occur on the job when an employee is performing physical work.

With so much happening on the job, employees can become injured in many ways. If you have been injured on the job, North Carolina law protects you by requiring your employer to purchase workers’ compensation and insurance. If a third party was to blame for your injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. Contact the experienced Gastonia workers’ compensation lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to learn more about compensation after your industrial accident.

Overview of Industrial Accidents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 2.8 million people were injured on the job in 2022. This figure also includes work-related illnesses. While accidents can and do happen, many of them are entirely preventable. The average injured employee misses ten days from work, although many may miss far more or may never be able to work again in their chosen profession.

Common Types of Industrial Accidents in North Carolina

Common types of industrial accidents include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls: These are the most common types of accidents on the job. Workers can fall from heights when they are not properly secured or when scaffolding collapses. They could also trip on various hazards that are in their path.
  • Machinery accidents: The workers may not have been properly trained on how to use a machine, or it could have been missing the proper safety guards. Alternatively, the machine itself could have been defective, giving rise to the possibility of a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
  • Caught betweens: An employee could get caught or squeezed between two objects or trapped when a structure collapses. A caught-between accident is one of the major types of workplace accidents that are known as the “fatal four.”
  • Electrocutions: There may be exposed wiring at the workplace, and the worker may not see it before they come into contact with it. Workers may be electrocuted by the machinery they are using. Electrocutions can result in burns, paralysis, and even death.
  • Explosions: There are a number of hazardous substances and items at a worksite that can catch fire or explode. The worker can be severely burned or maimed by the explosion.
  • Exposure to chemicals: There may be many dangerous substances that are either used or present at worksites. Breathing in these chemicals could lead to serious respiratory illnesses or diseases.
  • Transportation accidents: An employee could be injured by vehicles that are in use at a worksite. They could get run over by large trucks or other mechanized equipment.

Employer Responsibilities and Safety Regulations

Employers must follow federal regulations that govern workplace safety. The Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration (OSHA) publishes an extensive set of rules that dictate what employers must do on the job to keep employees safe. These regulations can govern such things as:

  • The proper training that employees need to be given to perform their jobs safely
  • The personal protective equipment that employers must provide their employees
  • Process safety management for highly hazardous chemicals
  • Fire protection measures that should be taken to both avoid fires and extinguish them when they occur
  • Guarding requirements for dangerous machinery

There are both general OSHA safety requirements and those that apply to specific industries. Employers can face serious consequences if they are found to have violated OSHA rules. As an employee, you may report your employer to OSHA for violating the rules, and your employer cannot retaliate against you. If OSHA performs an investigation and finds that your employer has broken the rules, the employer may be fined per violation and may face serious fines for major violations. In extreme cases, OSHA may even shut down an employer.

What To Do if You Have Been Injured in an Industrial Accident

If you have been hurt in an industrial accident, there are things that you must do, both to tend to your health and your legal situation.

The first thing that you need to do is see a doctor. In North Carolina, you do not have the right to select your own doctor to treat a workplace injury. Your employer selects the doctor so be aware that the physician may have your employer’s interests in mind. The doctor would diagnose and treat your workplace injuries.

You must also notify your employer of your injury within 30 days. If you miss that deadline, you may not be able to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits at all.

You would then file a workers’ compensation claim that seeks benefits for your injuries. It may be helpful if you hire an attorney before filing to help you with the actual claim. Your attorney may investigate the accident to determine whether there is a third-party defendant who you may be able to sue. Your lawyer’s job is to protect your interests at all points during the workers’ compensation process and represent you in an appeal if your initial claim has been denied or if your employer is trying to force you back to work before you are physically able.

Contact an Experienced Gastonia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have been hurt on the job, the lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys can be the advocate you need. Your employer and their insurance company may have an interest in making your life more difficult, and we are here to fight for you. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. You can send us a message through our website, or you can call us today at 910-405-7751 to schedule an appointment to speak with a lawyer. You never pay us out of your pocket.

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