Sunday, September 19, 2010

Minnesota Work Comp. and Auger Injuries

On July 21, 2010, a worker in Fort Myers, Florida, was tragically killed when he fell into an auger while working on a residential pool construction project.

Augers are used in the agricultural, landscaping, construction, and utility industries. They are commonly used to drill holes for pilings, utility poles, light poles and fence posts. The auger may be mounted on a variety of equipment or vehicles that may be ridden on or walked behind.

Augers present an extreme danger of entrapment or entanglement, as well as hazards that occur when an auger strikes materials beneath or above the surface. In addition to contact with hidden landscape fabric, contact with underground utility installations such as gas, fuel, or electric lines or overhead power lines such as electrical distribution and transmission lines also could result in a fatal accident. According to OSHA's Integrated Management Information System (IMIS), since 1987 at least thirteen fatalities have resulted from entanglement or crushing hazards involving augers. The IMIS data also indicate that a number of fatal accidents have occurred from contact with underground and overhead electrical equipment and utility lines.

OSHA recommends the following safety measures to avoid serious or catastrophic injuries involving augers:
  • Follow the instructions in the manufacturer's operating and preventive maintenance manual.
  • Conduct daily pre-task meetings to ensure that all employees are aware of the correct procedures to prevent an unwanted incident and any hazards associated with the job task.
  • Look for obstacles that may need to be removed. Hand digging may verify the presence or absence of underground material, including utilities.
  • Prior to drilling, cut a hole in the landscape fabric sufficiently larger than the diameter of the auger to prevent contact or entanglement with the fabric.
  • Except for the operator, employees should not be near the auger when it is operating.
  • Employees using hand tools should not move or remove spoil-pile while the auger is operating.
  • The operator should sit or stand at the operator's station while operating the auger.
  • Do not modify the operator's station or disable safety controls beyond manufacturer's recommendations (for example: hold-to-run or seat switch controls).
  • Remain a safe distance (a minimum of 10 feet) from the auger when helping the operator.
If you sustained an injury on the job involving an auger, you may be entitled to Minnesota Workers’ Compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and rehabilitation benefits. If your loved one died as a result of a Minnesota auger accident, you may be entitled to death and dependency benefits. To ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to, contact a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer for a free, no-obligation consultation.

To schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation with one of our Minnesota work comp. attorneys, call Meuser & Associates at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email.

To learn more about Minnesota Workers' Compensation, visit us at!
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