Earlier this week, the Brush City Council held a hearing on dangers to workers at the CHS grain elevator on North Railway Avenue. Many are worried that heavy traffic and speeding drivers are putting grain truckers and CHS employees at risk for workplace accidents.
The traffic problem is apparently leading to a number of safety issues. For example, since truckers cannot see oncoming traffic when they pull out of the elevator, motorists are supposed to yield to grain trucks. However, many choose not to, putting workers at risk for a serious accident.
In addition, many drivers try to bypass slow moving trucks by driving in the oncoming traffic lane. CHS says this habit is particularly worrisome, since the trucks usually block drivers from being able to see oncoming traffic.
It’s not just truckers who are at risk – workers leaving the elevator on foot have also reported having close calls with speeding traffic. At the hearing, a CHS official described a close call involving the company’s Safety Specialist, Steve Thorn, saying “It’s a bad situation. Had Thorn stepped any further out of the elevator, he’d have been run over. The car was going through there at least 40 to 50 miles per hour.”
CHS called on the City Council to do more to control traffic in the area. The City Council is taking the company’s requests under advisement and has promised to give an update at the next regular meeting.
Third Party Liability in Workers’ Comp Claims
CHS noted at the hearing that it has been fortunate that, to date, no employees have been injured by speeding drivers. However, the situation still serves to illustrate a common issue that can arise after a workplace accident.
Colorado workers’ compensation law is designed to compensate individuals for injuries sustained in a work-related accident, regardless of who is at fault. As a result, injured workers generally cannot sue their employers for negligence.
However, if the negligence of a third party – in this case, a speeding motorist – caused or contributed to the accident, the injured worker may be able to bring a civil lawsuit in addition to the workers’ comp claim.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident involving a potentially liable third party, an experienced Colorado workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your options.
Source: The Fort Morgan Times, “Traffic Danger at CHS Elevator Raises Concerns in Bush,” Katie Collins, March 28, 2012.