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When you’ve been seriously hurt at work, it can be hard to focus on the cause when you’re worried about healing and supporting your family. However, if your injury was directly related to a faulty piece of equipment, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of it. 

Here, we take a closer look at Georgia workers’ compensation law and the role of equipment failure. Of course, the best way to understand liability is to contact a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney. 

Where Do Most Workplace Injuries Happen?

All employers have a duty to ensure that the workplace is safe and workers are protected from injury. Most workers are not injured while sitting at a desk. Construction sites and manufacturing plants are common areas where workers get hurt. According to the National Safety Council, warehousing and transportation were responsible for the most days missed from work due to injury (per 10,000 workers). 

Understanding Workplace Injuries Caused by Faulty Equipment

Equipment can pose various hazards in the workplace, leading to injuries to workers in several ways:

  1. Mechanical Hazards: Moving parts, such as gears, belts, or rotating machinery, can catch clothing, hair, or body parts, leading to entanglement or crushing injuries.
  2. Electrical Hazards: Faulty wiring, damaged cords, or improperly grounded equipment can cause electric shocks, burns, or electrocution.
  3. Chemical Hazards: Equipment used for handling or processing chemicals can leak, spill, or malfunction, exposing workers to hazardous substances that can cause burns, respiratory issues, or other health problems.
  4. Ergonomic Hazards: Poorly designed equipment or workstations can lead to repetitive strain injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, or ergonomic issues like back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome.
  5. Noise Hazards: Equipment that generates excessive noise levels, such as machinery or power tools, can cause hearing loss or other auditory problems over time without proper protection.
  6. Falling Objects: Equipment or materials stored improperly or placed at heights can fall and strike workers, causing head injuries, fractures, or other trauma.
  7. Overexertion: Heavy equipment or tools that require excessive force to operate can lead to overexertion injuries, such as strains, sprains, or muscle tears.
  8. Lack of Guarding: Equipment lacking proper guards or safety devices can expose workers to hazards like being caught in machinery, leading to serious injuries or even amputations.

To mitigate these risks, employers should provide adequate training, ensure equipment is properly maintained, implement safety protocols and procedures, and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) as necessary. Regular inspections and hazard assessments can help identify and address potential equipment-related hazards before accidents occur.

An Employer’s Duty to Ensure Safety at Work

When equipment issues cause injury, a product liability lawsuit may need to be filed because there was a breach of duty somewhere between the product’s manufacture and the injury. Here are some scenarios where a court may decide an injury was caused by an equipment issue:

  • An employer failed to install the equipment properly
  • The piece of equipment contained an inherent defect
  • The equipment wasn’t adequately tested before it was sold
  • Inspection of the tool or equipment was inadequate

The supplier or distributor may be found liable as well as the manufacturer. If a product case is filed and the worker wins it can mean a lot more money, but in the meantime, it’s important to press the workers’ compensation claim because product lawsuits can take years to be resolved.

The Complexity of Bringing a Claim Against a Manufacturer

A product liability case will be successful only if certain criteria are met. There must be a clear correlation between the equipment and the injury. The equipment has to be the same from the time it was sold to the time the injury happened. In other words, it can’t have been installed incorrectly or changed once it left the manufacturer.

Georgia has a legal doctrine called strict liability. Products have to be without defects when they leave the manufacturer, and they must be suited for use. The product must not be designed defectively and it must have adequate warnings. Manufacturers are held to high standards of safety.

Your Right to Compensation: How a GA Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help

If you feel you were injured by a defective piece of equipment, it’s vital to contact an attorney. The experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Parsons Law Group can help protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.