On May 9, 2021, a 23-year-old man died after an accident in a warehouse. The man worked for a company that provided cleaning services to the facility once a week. He died after being pinned between a cleaning machine and shelving in the warehouse.
A worker may not have time to get out of the way once machinery, equipment and moving objects. Clothing caught in equipment can prevent the employee from moving. Other types of pinned-between accidents happen when:
- Heavy items fall over and land on or near an employee
- Walls collapse
Employers and employees must take safety precautions to prevent pinned-in or pinned-between injuries. Workplaces may lower the frequency and number of job-related accidents when established safety protocols and training for employees are in place.
Taking the necessary steps to prevent accidents also helps to avoid injuries. Jobs can put safeguards for accident prevention, such as:
- Not exceeding the load or weight capacity for equipment or machinery
- Regular maintenance for equipment or machinery
- Clear floors and pathways on work sites
- Only allow authorized or necessary personnel in unsafe work zones
- Have designated loading and unloading area
- Display safety and warning signs
- Conduct regular training and safety education classes for all employees
Objects that pin the employee may cause pressure on the body, leading to broken bones, bruising, bleeding, nerve injury or damage, or crush injuries. The worker can also find it difficult to breathe because of the compression force.
The longer the individual remains pinned between the objects, the longer the body deals with the force and pressure. Over time, the body becomes more in danger of long-term or permanent damage. Prolonged pressure on an arm or leg may lead to amputation. In some incidents, the person may die from the initial impact or the extended period of stress on the body.
In New Jersey, the exclusive remedy for a job-related injury is for the injured worker to file a workers’ compensation claim. The claimant can submit a claim after giving the employer actual notice of the employee’s injury.
The employee may receive wage compensation, medical care and expenses, and disability benefits. If the accident results in the employee’s death, the worker’s dependents can get death benefits.
In case of a death in a workplace, the personal representative of the deceased workers’ estate files the accident claim with the employer or the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation for the work-related death. The wage compensation goes to the deceased employee’s dependents. The amount is 70 percent of the employee’s wage at the moment of their death.
For worker’s compensation, dependents are the individuals that were dependent on the deceased. The law presumes that the surviving spouse, minor children of the employee, and children ages 18 to 23 who are full-time students are dependents if they lived in the household with the deceased at the time of his death.