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Investigation Cites “Serious Problems” With California Workplace Safety Enforcement

A recent Department of Labor report found workplace safety enforcement in California in need of serious change. According the Los Angles Times, an investigation into the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health revealed poor training of safety inspectors along with significant delays in responding to complaints. The investigation also revealed “relatively serious” problems, especially with the appeals board which “repeatedly reduced or dismissed penalties, even in situations where workers died or were seriously injured.”

Where workers are injured at work, they are eligible for Worker’s Compensation from their employer, regardless of fault. Additionally, injured workers may be able to bring third-party lawsuits in instances such as where a manufacturer provides a tool or equipment that causes injury, or another contractor creates an unreasonably dangerous workplace. Workers may be able to recover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and economic damages.

Where safety violations occur, Cal/OSHA is supposed to conduct an investigation, with the end result mandating work sites correct safety violations and pay fines. However, here the report highlighted several significant workplace accidents where Cal/OSHA failed to adequately investigate the safety violations and subsequently enforce penalties. For example, at Bimbo Bakeries, USA, nine employees lost parts of fingers or limbs as the result of baking machines lacking proper guards. Despite the safety violations, penalties were dismissed and the company not required to immediately remedy the problem.

In another case, a worker on the Golden Gate Bridge fell to his death because no scaffolds were in place. Cal/OSHA fined the contractor only $26,000, but when the administrative law judge noticed a small error in the name (the citations were issued to Shimmick Obayashi rather than Shimmick Construction Co. Inc/Obayashi Corp.) the case was dismissed.

Experienced workplace accident attorneys can help injured workers recover the compensation they are entitled to. Cal/OSHA must do a better job in enforcing penalties against companies to ensure the same accidents don’t happen again.

For more information, or if you have been injured in a work related accident, contact Frederick J. Sette,dedicated to helping those injured in California accidents obtain the compensation they deserve.

Court Determines General Contractors May Be Liable For Independent Contractors’ Work Place Injuries

A long running case recent case has determined that a general contractor may be held liable for personal injuries suffered by an independent contractor if the general contractor actively engaged in conduct that contributed to the independent contractor’s injuries.

In Tverberg v. Fillner Construction, Inc. an independent contractor was injured on a worksite after falling into a four-foot deep hole. The contractor had recognized the danger and requested that the condition be fixed. However, before the dangerous condition could be remedied, the contractor was injured.

If you have been injured in a workplace accident it is important to contact an experienced Stockton work place accident attorney to discuss your case and determine your next steps.

This case went through several court hearings, looking at the responsibility of different people on a job site, including the owner, the general contractor, supervisors and several lower level subcontractors when a party suffers an injury.

Here, the court determined that although an independent contractor on the job may retain some responsibility for his or her injuries, a general contractor on a jobsite could be held directly liable for injuries suffered by an independent contractor where the general contractor actively engaged in conduct that contributed to those injuries.

Further, it’s not enough to establish liability if the general contractor simply allows a dangerous condition to exist (is passive about an unsafe condition). The general contractor must be actively involved in some way in creating the dangerous condition. In this situation, because the general contractor asked for the holes to be dug, directed another contractor to dig the holes and failed to cover up the holes after requested to do so, the court determined that any one of these actions could constitute an “affirmative contribution” to the accident.

As a result, the appellate court sent the case back to the trial court for a determination of liability.

If you have been injured on a work site, many complicated laws concerning your right to recover compensation exist. For more information, or to discuss your work accident case, please contact a top Stockton work place accident lawyer at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.

Orland Construction Accident Injures Two

Orland news reports that a construction accident this past Thursday sent two men to the hospital and left a nearby school and surrounding homes without power for most of the day. The workplace accident occurred when a forklift operator - Mark Godfrey, Jr. - was moving steel beam and hit an overhead power line. He was electrocuted during the incident and suffered serious injuries. Godfrey, Jr. was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. A second man, Scott Gully suffered injuries from the construction accident as well. Gully was injured while trying to put out a fire that had ignited on the tires. Cal OSHA was called and began an investigation into the accident.

If you have been injured while on the job, it is important to contact an experienced Sacramento personal injury attorney to provide critical advice and information concerning your next steps. Depending on the circumstances of your matter, on-the-job injuries can be covered by Workers' Compensation law, tort law or both. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can provide guidance on the best way to handle your matter.

If some instances, workers may be covered by California worker's compensation laws. These laws may provide compensation in the form of medical payments, lost income, disability compensation and death benefits. Under California law, you generally can't sue your employer for on-the-job injuries, although you may be able to recover worker's compensation payments regardless of fault. Alternatively, in some instances you may be able to bring a tort law suit where a work place injury was caused by a third party - such as a manufacturer of dangerous equipment used at a worksite or a company who's product creates a hazard from toxic exposure.

Determining the appropriate laws and steps to take to recover compensation if you've been injured at work are complex. Here, if the men seek compensation for their injuries, several factors will determine both the laws regarding and the type the damages they may recover.

For more information or if you have been injured in a work-related accident, contact the Sacramento workers' compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.