According to a recent news report from WKBN 27 News, the United States Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found over 20 serious safety violations at an Ohio factory after an investigation relating to how a worker was crushed between two large machines last February.
It has been reported that the worker was a full-time machine operator who was crushed between an activated transfer paddle and an electrical box. The worker suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and was seriously injured.
OSHA officials noted workers must be aware of the hazards they face on a daily basis, and this particular employer did not consider on-the-job safety as important. The injury could have been avoided if the company had put in place sufficient protocols to protect workers from the dangers of moving machinery and properly trained employees in equipment lockout procedures during maintenance.
As our work injury lawyers in Massachusetts can explain, companies must show workers have the ability to lockout or prevent the operation of a piece of machinery while maintenance or inspections are being performed. The purpose of a lockout procedure is to prevent another employee from starting a machine while an employee is vulnerable to injury while servicing the machine.
The employer has released a statement expressing strong disagreement with OSHA findings, and says that employee safety is of the highest concern. The employer also stated that it had thousands of safe work hours throughout the company’s operations, and injuries such as this are not a normal occurrence. The company expressed disappoint that OSHA did not credit them for keeping other workers safe.
On-the-job injuries such as the one that was the focus of the OSHA investigation can be detrimental to a worker and his or her family. It is possible that a worker will have hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses stemming from the incident and many thousands more in future medical expenses relating to the need for ongoing care and rehabilitation. The worker may never be able to return to work and will have no other way to support his or her family, absent a workers’ compensation benefits award.
In a case like this, it is likely that the worker will file a claim seeking a permanent total disability rating. While it seems like the worker should have no trouble establishing this rating and getting an award of workers’ compensation, the employer’s insurance company, or the state workers’ compensation fund, often takes extraordinary measures to avoid paying claims.
One of the best things you can do if injured on the job is to contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible and increase the chance that you will receive and a fair and appropriate benefits, award at the earliest possible opportunity. Your attorney will be better able to help you if he or she is involved from the beginning of the process, rather than trying to undo what an employer has already done to prevent an employee from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are injured on the job in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim: 1-888-367-2900.
OSHA: 22 Vallourec citations; worker crushed, injured in Feb., September 10, 2014,WKBN 27 News
More Blog Entries:
OSHA Focuses on Increased Worker Safety at Demolition Sites, July 17, 2014, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog