Let us say that you have a manufacturing job here in Minnesota. You have been around machinery all your life and know it can be dangerous.
You have only had occasional bumps and bruises, but recently you were working on the repair of a conveyor system and now you have a fractured wrist. What are your next steps?
A jammed machine
Your injury occurred as you were attempting to clear out a jam on a conveyor system. The equipment suddenly released, and you could have been crushed. You were lucky to have experienced nothing more than a fractured wrist. Your coworker witnessed the accident and called for medical help.
About hazardous energy
The conveyor system release comes under the heading of hazardous energy issues. Hazardous energy is present in various types of machinery and equipment. Unexpected machine startup or release can trigger the output of stored energy, which could injure or kill anyone who happens to be in the way. For instance, a steam valve that is suddenly turned on could burn someone. Equipment wiring that shorts could shock a worker. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration recommends lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy. It is the responsibility of employers like yours to follow OSHA procedures that can safely disable equipment to protect workers from injury.
What to do
Your coworker did the right thing; your injury required prompt medical care. An ambulance arrived and the EMTs took you to the hospital where a physician examined you and provided treatment including a cast for your wrist. Before leaving work, you were able to tell your supervisor what had happened, and she wrote up a report. Your on-the-job injury qualifies you for workers’ compensation benefits, and the next step is to file a claim. You did not anticipate an accident that would result in a fractured wrist when you reported for work on an otherwise normal day, but you can anticipate receiving workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and more.