One very important area of products liability is industrial machinery. Machines used in factories can be extremely dangerous to workers. Many serious injuries and deaths have been caused by defective and dangerous machinery.
Metal forming machines such as press brakes, punch presses, and shears, have been responsible for many worker injuries over the years. Plaintiff trial attorneys have fought with the companies that make these machines to get those companies to make safer machines.
These machines use great pressure – many, many tons of it – to bend metal or put holes in it or cut it. The part of the machine where this happens is called the point of operation – where the ram of the machine hits the piece of metal. If a worker’s fingers, hand, or arm is in this danger zone when the ram comes down, that part of his or her body in the danger zone is chopped off – amputated!
We plaintiff lawyers have sued these companies many times claiming that if the machines were properly guarded by the company when they were sold then these awful injuries would be prevented. We have claimed that it is the duty of the company that makes such a dangerous machine to make it safe for the workers who use it.
There are many ways that these machines can be guarded to make them safe. These companies have known of these safe guard methods for many many years but have resisted adding these as standard equipment. Imagine a car without brakes or a seat belt.
After many lawsuits, trials, and court rulings, plaintiff lawyers have made these companies realize that it is cheaper for them to make their machines safe than to pay compensation for these horrible injuries.