Workplace injuries are often severe and may include head, neck or back injuries. In one example, WorkersCompensation.com recently reported that a Lakewood-based company received a total of 13 citations following an occurrence that resulted in the amputation of an employee's leg at the knee. The 13 citations included one willful violation and one repeat violation.
Load dropped from crane and pinned employee to the ground
The incident allegedly occurred after a load dropped from an overhead crane and pinned the employee to the ground. The employer was cited for failure to use an appropriate device to attach the load to the crane.
The event resulted in a willful violation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. According to OSHA, a willful violation is "one committed with intentional knowledge of or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health."
The repeat violation was for failing to guard specific pieces of equipment. A repeat citation is issued to an employer who was previously cited for the same or similar violation of an OSHA standard within the past five years.
Eight of the remaining violations were classified as "serious" violations, such as failing to secure specific equipment to the floor, perform daily inspections and properly train employees. The remaining three "other-than-serious" violations were the result of failing to place appropriate labels on circuit breakers and exit doors, as well as failing to mark voltage ratings on electrical panels.
A local OSHA director called the employer's lack of attentiveness "unconscionable" and noted that OSHA considers exposing employees to this level of negligence intolerable. The employer faces $82,600 in penalties for the violations.
Life-threatening injuries must be reported to a supervisor in writing
An employee who experiences a life-threatening injury on the job often has questions about the appropriate steps to take. According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, an employee who suffers a workplace injury that threatens life or limb should seek immediate emergency room treatment and then notify his or her supervisor of the injury in writing.
A non-life threatening injury must also be reported to an employer before obtaining medical care. All injuries must be reported within four working days of the injury and must be in writing.
For injuries not requiring immediate emergency room treatment, an employer is generally permitted to choose the medical provider that an employee must see. After an insurance claim is filed, an insurance company may also request an examination with a specific doctor. Participating in this examination is important to avoid a discontinuation of any workers' compensation benefits.
In addition to substantial medical bills and extreme pain and suffering, an employee who experiences a workplace injury also faces lost wages. Moreover, workers compensation laws are often complex, and insurance adjusters may not always have a worker's best interests in mind. This is why it could be helpful to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can explain the applicable workers' compensation laws, protect important rights and ensure that all necessary medical treatment and benefits are received.