- February 9, 2024
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Construction Accidents
Falling from heights and getting caught in heavy machinery are two of the most common causes of serious workplace injuries, especially for people in the construction industry.
Naturally, tall pieces of machinery with open tops can pose both dangers at once, especially if workers must stand near the top of the machine during the course of normal use.
Companies that design and distribute large industrial hoppers, mixers, tanks, etc. should be fully aware of how especially hazardous they can be, and take all reasonable measures to ensure worker safety.
- Areas where workers are expected to stand should be clearly marked and equipped with railings to prevent falls.
- The machine should be easy to use without climbing/reaching in unintended ways.
- There should be an instant emergency shutdown function, in case a worker does fall in.
Machines not built with worker safety in mind can destroy or drastically alter lives, and the companies that produce them are liable for those losses.
A Worker Spent Hours Trapped in a Concrete Hopper at Paulding County Rock Quarry
On December 19th of last year, a man working at for Wayne Davis Concrete fell into a hopper that was in use at the Paulding County Rock Quarry in Dallas, Georgia. The man was reportedly trying to retrieve something from inside the hopper when he fell through the opening and landed approximately twenty feet down, where he became trapped in the material inside.
He remained trapped there for nearly five hours as emergency responders attempted to rescue him. A cave-in occurred during the process, further burying him. One firefighter present at the scene estimated that the man might have been trapped beneath multiple tons of gravel at one point, but thankfully, there was a gap that prevented him from being compressed under the full weight.
Ultimately, the rescue crew was able to extract the man and airlift him to a hospital. He was conscious, but experiencing pain in his back and numbness in his legs.
Wayne Davis Concrete has so far not commented on the accident, or confirmed whether the victim was a direct employee of theirs.
Obviously, something went very wrong on this worksite. The question is whether it was due to the actions of Wayne Davis Concrete, another contractor at the scene, the hopper designer, or more than one of the above.
Construction Accident Survivors Have the Right to Sue Equipment Providers and Other Contractors
The standard way of collecting compensation after a workplace injury can be a demoralizing experience.
Under worker’s comp law, injured employees can file a claim for compensation, and will usually receive pretty quick coverage for immediate medical expenses. However, this coverage typically only applies to healthcare providers preselected by the employer, who may be unable or unmotivated to provide the care the employee needs, particularly if that care is highly specialized or costly.
To make matters worse, worker’s comp may not fully cover lost income related to the injury, and it provides no compensation for pain or emotional losses.
Employees approved for worker’s comp are not allowed to sue their employers. However, they can sue other companies that contributed to their injuries. For construction workers, common culprits include the manufacturers of unsafe construction equipment, as well as other contractors working on the same site.
So, for example, if the hopper involved in the accident at Paulding County Rock Quarry lacked necessary safety features, or if someone other than the victim’s employer pressured or tricked him into attempting an unsafe maneuver with it, he might be able to sue for full compensation, in addition to collecting worker’s comp.
If you are the man who was trapped in the hopper, or if you have also been injured in a construction accident in Georgia, please feel free to reach out to the Stoddard Firm for a free consultation on your options.