Excavators, while incredibly powerful and useful pieces of heavy machinery, come with inherent risks because of both their sheer size and the skill it takes to operate them. Operators are required to complete the necessary training before getting into the cab of one of these machines, and must pay close attention to their surroundings in order to prevent serious damage to property, power lines, and other people in the area.
One of the most common causes of excavator accidents is an inexperienced or unauthorized operator. Whether this operator was allowed into the cab of the machine because their credentials were not properly checked, they lied about their credentials, or simply got into an unattended cab with keys left in the ignition, they can easily and quickly cause considerable harm to both themselves and anyone in the surrounding area.
Additionally, there are specific regulations in New York that require certain excavators to a have a working audible backup alarm that will automatically sound when the excavator is moving in reverse so that people know to get out of the way. This is essential because the operators cannot see where they are going when they are backing up and other workers may not be able to hear the excavator coming because of the loudness of the construction or demolition site.
Some of the most common causes of injuries involving excavators include:
- Being hit by the vehicle itself: Just like any moving vehicle, if the operator fails to pay attention to what’s in front of them, they could easily run into or over someone in their path.
- Being hit by moving parts: Excavators have a number of moving parts that cover a considerable amount of space in a short time, especially its boom and bucket. If the operator isn’t careful, they could easily swing the machine and hit an unsuspecting worker or bystander.
- Quick disconnect excavator buckets: Sometimes, the mechanism that triggers quick disconnect excavator buckets can activate without warning and seriously injure or kill someone in the way.
- Rollover crashes: Excavators are often operated on rough terrain, and even experienced operators are at risk of rolling their machine over, especially when particularly dangerous terrain is not properly marked off. Because of how high the cab is, this type of crash often causes serious injuries to the operator.
- Electrocution: The most common cause of electrocution injuries for excavator operators occurs when they fail to adequately take note of their surroundings and hit a power line with their bucket or boom.
- Cave-ins and sinkholes: Construction sites that require the use of heavy digging machinery like excavators can have unstable ground, which can collapse without warning underneath the excavator.
- Limbs caught in moving parts: There is always a risk of getting caught in the moving parts present in any machine, and some of the more common causes of this include getting clothing caught, attempting to attach or remove parts while the machine is on, or failing to check if anyone is working on the machine before turning it on.
If you were seriously injured in an accident caused by heavy machinery like an excavator, contact the Perecman Firm today. There may be a number of legal options available to you, and our NYC construction accident lawyers will work with you to put together a plan of action that best suits your needs. Call us at (212) 577-9325 to discuss your case with a member of our firm today, or set up a free case evaluation by sending us the details of your situation through our online form. When you choose to work with us, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands – since we first opened our doors 35 years ago, our attorneys have secured more than $400 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients.