No training and poorly maintained power jack result in injury...

by Eric
(Michigan)

I need to see about a case with my employer. I started work with a local company on 11/14/2014 and on 11/17/2014 (my third day of work) I was to learn how to use a electric power jack. There was no video or test, nor was I certified to operate the two ton jack.

The trainer was not very clear how to use it, nor was there any room on the floor to work with it. There was also no one around and I had stated I was very nervous using the pallet jack.

It was about the 12th full pallet I pulled off when the injury happened. I pulled a pallet off and was going to go forward when the jack shot back at me, pushing my heel up against the wall and smashing my toes upward.

I had to be taken to the hospital. I stayed for two days and had my first surgery. I have multiple fractures and dislocations of the bones in my left foot. I will have to go back to the hospital soon to have another surgery. Obviously, my foot will never be the same and I will be affected for the rest of my life.

I am in the process of getting workers' comp, but I don't feel their compensation justifies such a severe injury, especially since it could have been prevented by me getting proper training on using such a dangerous piece of equipment.

Power Jack:

* Jack was in very poor condition

* the power cord was taped back on

* it did not start in slow speed

* would turn off on its own, even in use

* the wheels on jack were completely bawled

* the trainer did absolutely no inspection, nor tell me how to do an inspection on it before telling me to use it.

Employer:

* they did not give me any training on how to use the equipment or any kind of safety regulations about the power jack

* there was nobody around to supervise me using this equipment

* I told the guy that was supposed to be training me that I was not comfortable using this equipment as I was not sure how to operate it properly. The dock was so crowded it was extremely hard to maneuver the equipment. I am not even sure if the trainer was certified to be training me.

OSHA:

1910.178(a) (4) safe operation

OSHA Industrial Trucks Operator Training

1910.178 (1)
1915.120 (a)
1917.1 (a) (2) (xiv)
1918.1 (b) (10)
1926.602 (d)

Not one of these were applied to the training I was supposed to receive.

Can I file any other claims besides workers' comp? Is the employer personally liable for not maintaining the equipment and/or not training me properly? I'd appreciate any information you can provide. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "No training and poorly maintained power jack result in injury... ":

Eric (Michigan):

While your injuries are unfortunate, at this point it appears your only recourse is to accept the workers' compensation benefits.

From the facts you present, you weren't forced to use the power tool. If you felt uncomfortable, and were frustrated at the minimal instruction you received, you could have simply refused to use the power tool; or at least refused to use it until you were satisfied with the type and amount of training required to use it safely.

To have any chance of circumventing workers' compensation you would have to prove your employer was "grossly negligent" or had a "wanton disregard for your safety and well being." Inasmuch as you had an opportunity to just say "no," proving gross negligence, or a wanton disregard for your safety will be nearly impossible.

Alternatively, you can also file a complaint with OSHA and/or speak with a personal injury attorney with experience with dangerous work equipment cases.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION