Many people operate heavy machinery or equipment in their workplace. When operating large equipment of any type, it is imperative that the employee focus his or her full attention on the task at hand. Unfortunately, sometimes there are distractions that can take the focus away from safe machinery operation. When distractions occur and accidents happen, serious injuries can result.
If an accident happens on a worksite as a result of machinery or for any other reason, an injured worker can get benefits with the help of a New York workers’ compensation law firm. Cases in which the worksite injuries were caused by distraction of an employee can be complicated, but an attorney can provide assistance in proving injuries were work-related accidents which should result in benefits.
Public Education Campaign to Reduce the Risks of Distracted Machinery Operation
Distraction while operating machinery has become a big problem. Construction Equipment.com explained recently that the risk of operating heavy machinery or equipment while using a cellular phone could be up to six times more dangerous than using the equipment while intoxicated. Despite the fact that it is dangerous to use a phone while operating tools or equipment, far too many workers do it.
Not only does the distraction cause a loss of focus on surroundings and a delayed reaction time, but it also causes inattention blindness. This means the person who is texting or talking on the phone may see something in his surroundings, but the brain won’t process the information properly and the person will not register what has been seen.
Because distracted operation of machinery and equipment is so dangerous, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has joined forces with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in order to develop a new safety alert for workers. The alert is part of the ongoing AEM/MSHA Alliance, which is an alliance focused on promoting best practices for workplace safety in order to minimize the risk of equipment maintenance and equipment operation.
The AEM/MSHA campaign to discourage distracted operation of machinery will take a similar form to past public service campaigns that have discouraged behaviors like drunk driving. The campaign involves notifying contractors, equipment operators and other workers around a job site about how dangerous it can be to operate any machinery, equipment or vehicle while focusing on anything other than what is going on around them.
As many as 6,000 fatalities happen each year in auto accidents alone caused by distraction, and many more people are injured. In an effort to prevent injuries while on a job site, workers need to be aware of the extent of impairment that distracted operation can cause. The risks associated with texting are so well-known that there are 46 states that already impose a ban on texting while operating a vehicle. Since driving a car is so dangerous when texting that the behavior has to be banned, it is clear that operation of machinery or heavy equipment would also be a major hazard.
If workers on every worksite follow best practices for safety and avoid distraction, hopefully the risk of distraction-related accidents on worksites will be reduced. If such accidents do happen, an attorney at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff should be consulted for help.