The backhoe is probably the most commonly used piece of heavy equipment in the construction and excavation industries. It is also a machine that needs to be handled with an extreme amount of care, as even small mistakes can put the backhoe loader operator and surrounding bystanders at-risk for serious, and often deadly, accidents and injuries.
If you have been injured in a backhoe loader accident, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.
Causes of Backhoe Loader Accidents
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 40 people die every year due to backhoe loader accidents. These accidents are most commonly caused by the following:
- Overturning/tip-overs – Backhoe loaders can easily tip over if driven too fast, turns are taken too quickly, or the bucket is raised too high while making turns or on uneven surfaces.
- Hitting obstructions – Ditches, stumps, or other debris can cause a backhoe loader to overturn, causing the operator and/or bystanders to be seriously injured or killed.
- Unsecured loads – A load that is not properly secured with ropes, chains, or cables could fall on someone. In some cases, the loader itself could also fall due to cable failure or operator error.
- Slips and falls – Slips, and falls are one of the most common types of injuries on the worksite. Operators should be careful with hand placement and utilize a three-point contact at all times while trying to climb up or dismount from the backhoe loader.
- Transportation of equipment – Backhoe loaders that are not properly secured to the trailer or truck transporting them can fall off, causing deadly injuries.
- Defective equipment – A backhoe loader or any of its components that have been designed and/or manufactured improperly puts employees at-risk.
Backhoe Loader Safety Tips
Backhoe loader operators should exercise caution and follow specific safety tips to minimize the risks of accidents and injuries. These safety tips include the following:
- Work within a safety zone – Never operate the backhoe loader while others are within the safety zone to prevent striking them with the machine or the loader.
- Only allow the operator onboard – Never operate the backhoe loader while transporting a passenger. Loaders are a one-person piece of equipment.
- Use a seatbelt – An operator that is not properly secured by a seatbelt can easily be thrown from the backhoe loader going over bumpy terrain.
- Inspect the machinery – Before operating the backhoe loader and its components should be thoroughly inspected and properly maintained to ensure safety.
- Avoid dangers – Before operating the backhoe loader the work area should be inspected for hazards such as overhead power lines, stumps, and ditches.
- Only allow trained personnel to operate machinery – Only employees that have received proper training should be permitted to operate a backhoe loader. Inexperienced employees put themselves and others at risk.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to negligence on the job site or a defective product, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review your claim and determine if there were unsafe working conditions, potential OSHA violations, and other hazards that may have existed at the time of your accident. They will also determine who may be liable for your injuries and damages and what compensation you may be entitled to.
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