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Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers

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Permanent disability: 2 amputations, 1 serious injury in 3 months

Workers in industrial settings nationwide, including here in Colorado, are often exposed to unguarded moving parts of equipment. Such hazards can cause amputation injuries that may even lead to permanent disability. A pizza plant in a neighboring state was recently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after three workplace accidents occurred in as many months.

Last August, a 55-year-old worker’s right hand had to be amputated after it got caught by the chain and sprocket drive assembly of a conveyor. Although she was reportedly wearing work gloves, one of them got entangled in the chain while she was clearing the oven area of pizza crumbs. At the end of September, a 49-year-old woman tried to clear a jam on the conveyor and reached for the jammed pizza pan without deactivating the conveyor. She suffered fractures, burns and a laceration to her left hand’s palm.

Less than a month later, another 55-year-old female worker lost her balance while walking under the conveyor. Instinctively, she reached above her head with her hand to regain her balance and touched the unguarded chain underneath the conveyor. This injury caused the amputation of her left middle finger. The company was cited for its continuing failure to install safety guards around the moving parts of conveyor systems.

All three these women suffered debilitating injuries along with unanticipated medical expenses and lost wages. Although the financial consequences of the workplace injuries can be resolved by pursuing workers’ compensation benefits, a permanent disability is not reversible and will impact on a victim’s life in many ways. Following amputation injuries, some Colorado workers choose to utilize the services of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys to pursue maximum benefits for them.

Source: salina.com, “Schwan’s facing fines for amputations, lacerations“, Tim Horan, Feb. 12, 2016

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