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Question: Could I get compensated for losing function of a finger?
Question Detail: I got my finger caught in a conveyor with no E button close enough to push leaving the middle finger being rubbed off all the way to the bone. I originally had an option to amputate or save. I chose to save the finger, but with no use of the finger whatsoever. My finger was constructed to look like a finger holding a large cup.
Answer: In Iowa you would have the right to file a workers' compensation claim and yes it would provide for compensation, called permanent partial disability payments that are intended to compensate you for loss of earning capacity. The problem is this is a scheduled member and the loss of function compensation is pretty limited. But let's consider another option.
Depending on what company owned the equipment your employer had you using, you may also have what we workers’ compensation lawyers call a third-party case against the owner of the equipment. The way you’ve described this set-up the conveyor is defectively designed. A shut off or ‘oh-shit’ button is not a shut off button if the operator is stationed too far away to reach it. You see when you scream 'Oh SHIT!" you are supposed to be able to shut the machine off, which is why I call it the "Oh Shit Button". A comparable design would be putting the car brake in the back seat. This would really be dumb. Did I say dumb?
Designing with E-Stop Switches, Robert Repas, Machine Design where the author writes:
• E-Stops do not merely turn equipment off, but offer foolproof equipment shutdown.
• Standards and regulations for E-Stops vary significantly by industry.
• E-Stops should stop all hazardous mechanical motion, but not shut off associated equipment.
Emergency-stop switches, generally referred to as E-Stops, help ensure the safety of people and machinery by delivering a consistent and predictable fail-safe response. A wide range of electrical machinery need these specialized switches to meet workplace safety and established international and domestic regulatory requirements. E-Stops differ from simple stop switches that merely turn equipment off in that they offer foolproof equipment shutdown. This takes place through switch designs that need a twist, pull, or key to release the electrical contacts so the machinery can restart.
Where do you find an accident lawyer with experience in machine design? How do you investigate a machine design case? Well you first hire a lawyer with 30+ years of experience who settled one for $300,000. Call us if you can use our expertise.
Photo Credit: We would like to thank our friend Jason Arnold an architect living Anchorage for the image he shot of Denali aka Mt. McKinley. Alaska. Jason attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
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