Q I lost part of my finger in a drill press accident. I’m getting worker’s comp for medical appointments, but I’ll never get my finger back. Can I get paid for the loss of my earning ability?
Yes. If your employer willfully put you at risk and that directly led to your injury, you may be able to seek additional compensation. Not only should your workplace have provided adequate safety gear, your employer should have instructed you and your coworkers on safety procedures and potential dangers.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are many ways employers can help protect workers against drill press injuries in New Jersey, including:
- Do not remove guards over the machine’s motor, belt, and pulleys.
- Install and maintain a guard around the point of operation—such as the bit and chuck above the material being worked.
- Replace all projecting chucks and screws with safety-bit chucks and set screws.
- Install plastic covers over operator controls to prevent accidental operation.
- Conduct regular training and safety inspections of drill press operations.
- Ensure that employees do not wear any loose-fitting clothing or jewelry while operating a drill press.
- Instruct employees to secure long hair and remove gloves before operating a press.
- Provide sufficient clamps so that operators may secure materials to the drill press without using their hands.
- Make sure that the auto-off switches for cleaning and maintenance remain operational.
- Perform all regular maintenance and service for each component of the press.
If someone you know was injured by a power press at work, they may not know that their injury was caused by employer negligence. Send them a link to this article to help them understand the circumstances of their work accident, or click the link on this page to download a FREE copy of our book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.