Equipment operator workers compensation injuries can occur in single traumatic accident on the job site or from job duties over the years. Construction equipment operators drive, operate, and control the heavy machinery used to construct roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures.
In the course of their day equipment operator check equipment, clean, maintain, and make basic repairs. They move levers, push pedals, or turn valves to activate and drive their equipment. Operators work with construction crew members in response to hand or audio signals.
Equipment operators move construction materials, earth, and other heavy equipment at construction sites. They operate equipment that clear, excavate and grade land to prepare it for construction.
There are different types of construction equipment operators. Operating engineers or construction equipment operators work power construction equipment including excavators, bulldozers, graders, and cranes.
Paving and surfacing equipment operators control the machines that spread and level asphalt or spread and smooth concrete for roadways or other structures.
Concrete paving machine operators control levers and turn handwheels to move attachments that spread, vibrate, and level wet concrete.
Tamping equipment operators hammer and break up pavement, as well as compact earth for grading.
Pile-driver operators use large machines mounted on skids, barges, or cranes to hammer piles into the ground.
Operating engineers also operate cranes to move construction materials in building buildings, bridges and roads.
Operating engineer physical demands are more than meets the eye. It is not just sitting in a chair waiting for direction. Equipment operators are often men from the trades who may have pre-existing back or neck degeneration. In addition to using his or her hands and fingers to handle, feel or operate objects, tools or controls, and reach with hands and arms, the employee is frequently required to stand, walk and manually move material. The operating engineer is occasionally required to walk, sit, climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, taste and smell.
The employee must frequently lift or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift or move up to 100 pounds. Construction engineers must repeatedly bend, twist and turn at the waist as well as reach overhead and turn their neck in awkward positions.
Operating engineers and other construction equipment operator employees do suffer on the job injuries often involving the low back lumbar discs and occasionally the neck or cervical discs. Herniated discs on MRI results may end up with lumbar fusion surgery or cervical discectomy surgery. Permanent physical restrictions that prohibit a return to operating heavy equipment gives rise to workers compensation benefits.
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin support the IUOE organized labor including the unions representing Southeastern Wisconsin operating engineers Local 139 and Local 420.