What is a Cotton Gin?
The cotton gin is a machine that separates cotton fibers from their seeds, enabling far greater productivity than manual cotton separation. Although early examples of cotton processing devices go back to the First Century AD, the invention of the modern cotton gin is famously credited to Eli Whitney in 1793, who patented the machine in 1794. Today's cotton gins are fully-automated machines which use a network of powered cleaning cylinders, saws, screens, and spiked rollers or "teeth" that mill raw cotton bolls into the finished product, cotton fabric.
What's the Problem?
Despite their usefulness, cotton gins and other related machinery used in the cotton harvesting process can cause severe, potentially life-threatening injuries to workers and others nearby. These injuries may be caused by negligent/wrongful acts by employees operating the equipment, or by manufacturing defects in the devices themselves.
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Cotton Gin Injuries
- Amputations of fingers, arms, hands, legs and toes
- Crushed limbs
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Burn injuries from defective cotton gins catching fire
- Respiratory illnesses / bronchial infections / asthma attack from cotton gin dust / debris
Source: OSHA 
2 Workers Injured by Fire in California Cotton Gin
Two workers were hospitalized after being injured during a fire at a cotton gin in Five Points, California, according to ABC 30 . CAL FIRE said the fire broke out at Britz Inc. near Mt. Whitney and Sonoma. The workers suffered burn injuries and were taken to the hospital, according to fire officials.
Oklahoma Cotton Gin Worker Loses Legs in Accident
A farm worker in Oklahoma recently lost both his legs when he was pulled into a cotton gin, according to ABC 7 . It is unclear how the worker became entangled in the gin, but a sheriff's report stated that the man's legs had been stuck in the machine for about 2 hours before he was discovered. Emergency workers had to amputate one of the worker's legs at the scene before he could be loaded into the helicopter that took him to the hospital. His injuries were so severe that doctors had to perform an amputation of his other leg, as well.
Cotton Gin Injury Prevention
Gin owners and managers can help reduce the risk of worker injuries by:
- Conducting safety training with all cotton gin workers before harvest season;
- Stressing that employees use extra care when working on ladders or at high elevations;
- Requiring eye and ear protection when working in the press area;
- Scheduling employee work shifts to reduce fatigue levels and keep workers alert;
- Thorough inspections by employees of their workspace/machinery before their shift;
- Always putting safety first
Do I have a Cotton Gin Injury Lawsuit?
The Workplace and Environmental Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in cotton gin lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has suffered damages, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.