Jobs with the highest crush injury risk and how to receive compensation
Many different situations can lead to workers being injured on the job in Georgia. The type of job someone holds largely dictates what dangers they face.
While some workers face relatively minor injuries that may only cause a temporary setback, others face more severe injuries that can have life-altering effects. Crush injuries are one of these more severe types of workplace accident injuries.
What is a crush injury?
“Caught-in” or “struck-by” injuries both fall under the broader umbrella of crush injuries. Caught-in injuries result from a worker’s entire body, specific body parts or a combination becoming stuck in an object or lodged between objects. Struck-by injuries occur when an object collides with someone.
Which employees are most at risk for suffering crush injuries at work?
Employees are most at risk for suffering crush injuries if they:
- Work around heavy equipment, such as excavators, tractor-trailers or forklifts
- Operate machinery with moving parts without guards on them
- Work around building or construction materials, including lumber, rocks or dirt
Occupations with the highest risk of crush injuries include:
- Warehouse workers
- Harbor workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Delivery services workers
- Construction workers
- Building or landscaping materials sales workers
- Tractor-trailer transportation workers
- Assembly lines workers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reported that at least 93 workers died from crush injuries in 2020.
What are the most common causes of crush injuries?
Various factors leave workers vulnerable to suffering crush injuries such as:
- Unsecured loads: Truck loaders and unloaders are at risk of getting struck in the head by improperly stacked or strapped items, especially if these items shift in transit.
- Heavy loads: Construction and trench workers are at risk of having a load of grain or dirt dropped on top of them if a truck driver doesn’t verify that no one is within proximity before unloading.
- Machinery with moving parts: Anyone working around or with certain machines is vulnerable to getting a body part caught in that machine.
- Moving vehicles or forklifts: Warehouse workers run the risk of an improperly trained forklift operator or unobservant trucker colliding into them, causing them to become trapped between the vehicle and a wall or other stationary object.
- Inadequate tool tethering: Construction workers working at elevated heights can lose their handle on tools, causing them to drop onto a worker below.
What dangers are associated with crush injuries?
Data compiled by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that the breakdown of body parts affected by crush injuries are as follows:
- 9 percent torso
- 10 percent upper limbs
- 74 percent lower limbs
Employees who suffer a caught-in crush injury may experience a sudden increase in pressure along their compressed body parts. The longer the compression lingers, the more likely they will experience:
- Internal organ damage
- An irreversible dying off of muscle tissues
- Kidney failure
- Excess production of calcium or lactic acid by their muscles, resulting in a metabolic disorder
- Hypotension and shock
Workers who suffer struck-in accidents may need to have their limbs amputated due to severe blood loss, nerve damage and disfigurement.
Employees who suffer a struck-by crush injury may be left with blunt force trauma and brain damage.
If you or another worker experiences a crush injury at work, seek immediate medical treatment. This is imperative to ensure that there isn’t any internal bleeding or organ damage.
How to get workers’ comp if you’re hurt on the job
Georgia employers have a responsibility to maintain their equipment and create and enforce safety rules in order to keep their employees safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines that all industries and companies must follow in order to eliminate obvious workplace hazards.
If you believe your employer is ignoring their responsibility to keep their workers safe, be sure to follow the appropriate steps to report unsafe working conditions.
Under Georgia workers’ compensation laws, most injured workers qualify for workers’ comp benefits to cover medical care and a portion of their lost wages (generally two-thirds of their average weekly wage).
Workers are entitled to a weekly check that covers these lost wages regardless of whether their injury is permanent or temporary. The maximum payment varies depending on the type of disability—temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial disability (TPD), or permanent partial disability (PPD)—and when the injury occurred.
Georgia workers may be entitled to a lump sum settlement too. If a defective product resulted in your injuries, a 3rd-party lawsuit might also be an option.
It’s critical that you discuss your case with a workers’ compensation attorney to learn what legal options are available in your case.