Welders Frequently Suffer Serious Injuries in Work-Related Accidents in New Jersey. It is Important for Injured Workers to Know their Rights when Welding Accidents Occur.
Welding is an industrial necessity that has been around for a very long time in the United States. Welders are extremely hard workers and typically belong to one of the strongest unions in the country. The respect earned by welders is derived from their work ethic, but it is also a very dangerous job that only a few can do well. There are many inherent dangers to the job, some of which result in serious injuries and permanent disability for those working in the profession. Despite some anticipated risks that come with the job description, welders who suffer harm in accidents due to the negligence of others have rights. Likewise, workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey afford welders the opportunity to pursue a claim if injuries on the job affect their continued ability to work, support themselves and their loved ones, and perform work-related tasks, as well as activities of daily living.
Hazards that Welders Face
In order to understand the full range of dangers that come along with welding, it is necessary to understand what welding actually is. Welding can be defined as the joining of two or more metals through the use of extremely high temperature flames. The process is usually conducted by hand with the help of heavy machinery. Welding can also be done by using machines remotely. The first inherent danger of welding is the high temperatures that welders are routinely exposed to. Welders must use flames that produce a temperature high enough to melt metal. Obviously, these temperatures can have a dramatic effect if anything, like metal or the flame itself, encounters skin or eyes.
The flames used to produce such high temperatures also produce a very dangerous and bright light that welders must be shielded from. Exposure to light can have lasting effects on the eyes and skin if the welder is not properly protected. A more common risk, yet less known, is the exposure to poisonous and toxic gases created when melting certain metals.
OSHA Policies and the Welding Industry
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a governmental agency that has the sole mission of ensuring our nation’s workforce is properly shielded from any unnecessary and unreasonable dangers. OSHA accomplishes its mission by setting in place regulations, rules, and standards that must be adhered to by employers, or they will face punitive action. By setting in place basic requirements for employers to follow, OSHA can rest assured that welders are protected when they are doing their jobs. OSHA also provides instructions for welders to follow to ensure that they learn the best practices to keep themselves safe.
What Causes Welding Accidents?
Welders are exposed to numerous on-the-job hazards and risks every day. Therefore, it is extremely common for accidents to happen. The most common accidents that occur typically come from the high-temperature flames that welders work with. When working with fire, welders must be very well-protected by wearing the appropriate clothing. Even with the appropriate safety measures taken, welders can still suffer burns to their skin and eyes. The flames used to produce the high temperature needed to melt metals are also very bright. These flames give off ultraviolet radiation, and if a welder is overly exposed to it, there can be lasting effects on their eyes and skin as well. Besides the radiation that comes from the ultraviolet rays, there is also infrared radiation to worry about.
Frequent Injuries Associated with Welding Accidents
From the most common welding accidents can come severe injuries. For example, when welders are working with manganese, which is an element commonly found in iron, there can be toxic fumes inhaled by the welder. These toxic fumes can manifest a disease in the brain known as Manganism. Manganism is a neural deterioration that is similar in its effects to Parkinson’s disease.
Welders are also at high risk of electric shock. When using their equipment, welders need electricity to be able to do their job, which opens them up to electrical shock. Electrical shock can cause permanent damage to the body’s muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones. Since welders are used in virtually all different kinds of industry, they are expected to weld in various positions. These positions can be on scaffolding and in high areas.
Sometimes falls from high areas or falling equipment will cause severe and permanent injury. Welders are also exposed to high levels of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light can cause burns to the eyeballs and skin when overly exposed. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can cause “flash burns.” “Flash burns” are burns to the eyeball that occur when the eyes are exposed to the blue light flames used for welding.
Another common injury that is caused by welding is lung damage. Lung damage occurs when welders breath in the toxic fumes released by certain metals when they are melted. Unfortunately, this can also lead to certain cancers in the body down the road.
The Two Possible Routes for a Welding Injury Claim
The first kind of claim that may be filed to ensure that an injured welder is properly compensated is a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of insurance policy that most New Jersey employers are required by law to have. This type of policy is used strictly for workers who are injured on the job, and to use the policy usually means that the worker gives up the right to sue the employer.
The second kind of claim that may apply to a welding injury case is a personal injury negligence claim. The big difference here is that the injured party must be able to prove who was at fault. This kind of claim is not typically brought against the employer, but against third-parties such as product, machinery, safety gear, or equipment manufacturers, or subcontractors, for example.
Contact Cohen & Riechelson to Handle Your Welding Accident Case in New Jersey
Welding accidents can lead to extremely high medical bills in addition to the injured party not being able to work. Having an attorney who has a high success rate with these particular incidents is the first step to ensuring you are properly compensated in order to offset the massive losses accrued. Having the right personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyer means having a person advocate for you every day when communicating with parties who do not have your best interests at heart. Insurance companies and parties related to the case are not invested in your well-being.
Our dedicated attorneys at Cohen & Riechelson will be invested in your well-being and make sure that you are protected throughout the process of obtaining the compensation you need to be made whole. If you have been injured in a welding accident in Trenton, Lawrence, Hamilton, Princeton, Hightstown, Robbinsville, Ewing, Mercer County, or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact our legal team for a cost-free consultation at (609) 528-2596 or access our online option to discuss your on the job welding accident. Let us review your case, discuss your rights, and outline the avenues that we can help you pursue to be properly compensated for your welding-related injuries.