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Compliance with safety rules may not stop injured worker claim

California employers need to ensure that safety standards at the workplace are maintained. Not only can this help to reduce the chances of facing an injured worker claim, but it can also help avoid costly penalties levied by work safety authorities. This is particularly important in the construction industry because the chance of serious injuries are higher due to the nature of the work than in other types of work environments.

It appears that four construction contractors may have failed to adhere to safety standards and have recently been cited by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The four construction contractors were working on converting an industrial building into residential apartments. Apparently, the contractors did not provide adequate fall protection for their workers at the construction site. OSHA inspectors visited the work site after receiving reports of possible fall hazards.

Now, the four contracting companies are facing over $110,670 in fines. One contractor's alleged violations accounted for $93,170 of the total fines levied by OSHA. Among the safety violations listed were a lack of fall protection for workers performing duties on the roof, unguarded floor holes and workers not being trained properly to recognize fall hazards.

Another contractor was cited for failing to document fall protection training provided to workers. A third contractor was cited for a lack of fall protection for workers on a scaffold, as well as utilizing a scaffold which was not fully planked. The fourth company was cited for a lack of fall protection to keep employees from falling through a wall opening.

Unfortunately, even when California employers do make the necessary adjustments to comply with safety standards, there is no guarantee that those precautions will prevent a workplace injury from occurring. Therefore, there is always still a chance that a company will have to defend itself against an injured worker claim. Luckily for companies facing workers' compensation claims, a solid legal strategy can ensure that a worker's claim is valid and prevent fraudulent claims from costing a company thousands unnecessarily.

Source: masslive.com, "Contractors cited for safety violations at Easthampton Dye Works project", Jim Kinney, Jan. 15, 2015

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