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Balers can be found in a wide variety of locations but all for one general purpose: To compact and shape refuse, product, cans, plastic, foil, straw or hay into a manageable cube, round wheel, or cylinder that can be tied with rope, netting, twine or wire. Baling machines are used in this way so that workers, factory workers, farmers and machinists can store, handle, dispose of and transport the crop, cardboard or material. Balers are very dangerous machines that need training and certification to use. Employers need to guarantee all those using a baler are given that training and more if they wish to avoid injuries and their machine from breaking.
The majority of baling machines are used in a farm, industrial or factory setting though balers can also be found at retail stores and office complexes. On a farm, balers come in all shapes and sizes. Many can move on their own or be pulled by a pickup, tractor or truck so they can travel the fields turning hay, silage, weeds or straw into round (that can roll), cube, rectangle, small, large or cylinder bales. The rounds bales, though, that are produced can weight over two thousand pounds so care and proper training is required. A farmer, laborer or farm worker will mainly use a bale spear or spike and a skid steer to direct and move the round bales as it rolls on the ground. As discussed in the next paragraph, round bales that get out of control can crush, injure, maim, cause amputations and run over workers, farm hands and farm animals.
Another piece of equipment that can help transport round bales are grapple forks that are hydraulically powered or some farms have been known to weld grab hooks onto their front loaders. Depending on whether the bale needs to move or be stationary, these grab hooks can help flip the bale onto its “dinner plate” (or flat) side or onto its “tootsie roll” (or round) side. Bale wrappers, silo bags and special equipment can also be used to create silage and haylage bales that are wrapped in plastic and are much wetter. There are many advantages to these types of bales but there is an increased risk of injury due to the heavier nature of wet bales and the tension and tools needed to wrap a bale in plastic.
The most familiar type of baling machine is that of the rectangular balers seen hauled by farm trucks that make the common rectangular bales of hay and straw that are bound by twine or plastic rope. They are called prairie raptors in some parts of the world. These balers commonly have the following parts to them that all need to be trained on by the employer or farm owner: windrow, tines, pickup, augers, chamber, plunger, knife, and automatic tying machine. This type of baler can also produce small, square bales for uses in small feedlots or stables where there isn’t room for the large bales.
The industrial balers are used for products like cardboard, plastic, cans, stretch wrap, bottles, foil, office paper and trash. They are even used in the backrooms, storage rooms or warehouses of retail establishments because of the heavy amount of cardboard and paper that is used every day from all of the boxes that the products are shipped in. Some of the names and types of baling machines include single compression scrap balers, double compression scrap balers, triple compression scrap balers, auto-baling machines, bale palletizing systems, automatic bag packing machines, automatic woodshavings packing machines, automatic animal bedding packing machines, dual purpose packing and baling machines, and automatic packing, baling and wrapping machines that are completely turnkey for the user. It is critical that each baler and packing machine is only used for its intended purpose and that employers stay up to date on safety trainings, cleaning, properly storing techniques and maintenance.
Accidents and injuries due to a baler or packing machine can be very catastrophic. Some of the potential injuries from baling machine accidents include lacerations, amputations, being maimed, being crushed, becoming deformed, being rolled over, eye injuries, deep cuts that need stitches, head injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, lung injuries, inhaling too much saw dust, muscle strains, wrongful death and much more. Remember to call for medical help if you have been injured and then call our firm so we can discuss your legal options and the merits of your case.
The personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo have helped people who have had baler accidents since 1979. To get an idea of what your legal options are and to discuss the merits of your case, just call us at (888) 516-8530 to setup a free initial consultation and case evaluation. We will always go for the maximum compensation that you legally deserve and we will not charge you until and unless you win your case. This is true for workers’ compensation, third party injury cases, product defect cases, baler defect cases, or personal injury cases. No matter what your employer tells you, you have rights after any work accident or job injury that can potentially protect you. We are also willing to come to you if you cannot come to our office for any reason.