The Associated Press reports that earlier this month a grocery employee in San Luis Obispo is lucky to be alive and/or without serious injuries after his shirt got caught in a running meat grinder. The workplace accident occurred after the man was trying to dislodge a piece of meat that was caught in the hopper. In this case, a co-worker stated that the man was just seconds away from his arm being pulled into the grinder when the co-worker hit the kill switch. Although the worker avoided life-threatening injuries, he did suffer a broken arm as the result of the incident.

At first blush, this incident might seem like a simple instance of poor judgment by the employee. However, employers bear the responsibility of ensuring that workers are properly trained in order to avoid serious personal injuries when working with dangerous equipment and moving machinery. Many employers avoid safety training because of a shortsighted view that such training gets in the way of productivity. A longer view shows just the opposite. Indeed, with a greater emphasis on safety, a large percentage of California’s serious and fatal work place accidents could be avoided. 

In most situations, regardless of the root cause of the accident – and the “fault” of the employer – workers injured on the job can recover California worker’s compensation benefits.  Benefits may include medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.   Additionally under certain circumstances, it may be possible to bring a 3rd party claim which is a lawsuit against someone other than the employer. For example, the manufacturer of a defective machine could be sued if the defect was the cause of the injury.

In this instance, the accident remains under investigation. 

For more information or if you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident, it is crucial to seek the guidance of an Oakland personal injury attorney who can discuss your options for recovery.