A great deal of emphasis is typically placed on workers' actions and responsibilities when it comes to following safety measures in the workplace. Though, those precautions must first be implemented and enforced by the company to ensure they are truly effective. Similarly, employers can only be held accountable for the standards they set when those entities responsible for policing such measures take a proactive approach to doing so. The system depends on the vigilant application and execution of jobsite safety measures on every level to guarantee that workers throughout Colorado and the country are protected at all times. Sadly though, there is evidence that the system is failing in some ways, potentially leaving millions of American workers vulnerable to preventable injuries.
Denver Workers' Compensation Law Blog
When workers in the state of Colorado are seriously injured or killed performing their duties, it is very important that an investigation is completed and all appropriate parties are held responsible. Not only is it necessary to protect the rights of the injured and their families to obtain answers and compensation but employers must be held accountable for failing to protect their staff from safety concerns. One truly catastrophic on-the-job accident resulting in the injuries of four and deaths of five workers left countless questions to answer, and has led to several lawsuits against those suspected of being at fault.
In 2007, four men were hurt and five men were killed as a result of a fire that ignited in a hydroelectric plant they were working at. The men were apparently resealing a pipeline inside the plant when the fire erupted. The cause of the fire is attributed to a flammable solvent they were using. Given the location of the workers inside the tunnel, responders to the scene were unable to provide them with air tanks or rescue. Sadly, some of them ultimately succumbed to the fumes.
For those that work with heavy and/or hazardous equipment, it is crucial that they are constantly aware of factors like their surroundings, machinery, fellow workers and potential dangers. That is why Colorado construction sites maintain strict policies regarding proper safety and work techniques. In fact, job sites all across the country must conform to state and federal safety laws to ensure employees are protected from avoidable accidents and injuries. Incidents involving serious injuries in construction areas are thoroughly investigated by federal agencies to determine the cause and who, if anyone, may be at fault. One such investigation is underway in a case of an unfortunate construction accident that injured two workers and killed another.
On-the-job injury cases like this one are taken very seriously be all parties involved. In this instance, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the state-operated Department of Industrial Accidents is working with local law enforcement and the state’s district attorney to determine exactly what went so very wrong on one construction site.
When companies purchase liability insurance, they must account for factors like the number of employees they have and the type of work they do. And when it comes to carrying workers' compensation for employees, states like Colorado and many others require businesses to accurately and honestly divulge information concerning coverage requirements. Two men are accused of misclassifying information relating to their landscaping business in an attempt to pay lower workers' comp premiums.
According to the district attorney involved in this case, insurance premiums for all the companies in a state can inadvertently be affected when one attempts to defraud the system. When a business fails to pay an insurance company the premiums it actually owes, that company may raise premiums across the board to compensate for the loss. That is why insurance fraud can result in serious legal consequences for offenders.
Companies in Colorado and al l across the country are expected to uphold strict state and federal safety regulations at all times. The primary incentive and ultimate goal of providing a danger-free workspace should always be to ensure that workers are suitably protected. Though, there can also be monetary enticements for passing and/or exceeding safety standards. For one safety manager, the appeal of collecting millions of dollars' worth of safety bonuses was enough to make him underreport and falsify on-the-job injury cases.
The man's illegal actions came to light after the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) conducted an investigation that lasted more than five years. That investigation ultimately resulted in a federal grand jury convicting the defendant of serious fraud charges.
On worksites all across the state of Colorado, and throughout the country, safety precautions are taken to ensure that all workers can perform their duties without the fear of being hurt. And for people that work with machinery and/or large equipment, it is particularly important that they follow protocol and observe crucial safety standards. Unfortunately, however, accidents do happen and sometimes they can have fatal consequences.
One recent incident involves a man who sadly died after he suffered a work injury. The accident victim had been unloading palettes of asphalt sealant from the semi-truck he was driving when he somehow got pinned behind the truck. The man was delivering his load to a construction company at the time of the incident, where emergency responders were called to the scene of the accident. Even though it appears that the truck driver was trapped for only a few moments, he later died in an area hospital.
Many jobs come with inherent risks that must be recognized and addressed in order for workers to perform their duties safely. Companies that place their employees in the position to work under potentially dangerous conditions are responsible for providing the necessary safety equipment and training to everyone onsite. In the event that an employee has suffered a work injury, the employer may face a federal investigation and even charges if it is determined that they failed to uphold legal safety standards. And while countless Colorado companies take these types of regulations very seriously, there seems to be a disturbing trend in one industry that is putting under-age workers at risk.
In 2009, one fatal incident involved a 17-year- old boy in Haswell, Colorado. The young man was working in a grain bin when he was overtaken by shifting grain and suffocated. The accident was investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but one victim advocate argues that results of the inquiry did not lead to an appropriate punishment for the defendant company that owned the grain bin. The company was ultimately forced to pay less than half of the $1.6 million fine recommended by OSHA, and avoided any prison sentence.
For many workers, the beginning of one's shift signals the time when they can take a break from their personal lives and concentrate on other things for part of the day. Employees and employers alike can benefit from this type of workplace mentality because it is known to foster productivity and pride in job performance. However, the reality may be different for countless employees across the state of Colorado, and the country, who face difficult domestic situations. In instances where one's personal and professional lives collide, resulting in violence or even death, what role and/or responsibility does the employee's company have in the matter?
That question is at the heart of a recent workers' compensation lawsuit. The company identified as the defendant in the suit claims that a business cannot be held liable for issues like domestic assault, even if they happen to occur when the employee is on the job.
In the state of Colorado, as in many states across the country, employers invest thousands of dollars each year into company-funded programs for employees. Workers' compensation is one such program that is crucial to the vitality of the American workforce, as it helps to compensate sick and injured workers for lost wages and medical expenses they may incur as a result of a workplace accident or illness. By protecting employees financially during times when they are physically incapable of performing their duties, companies also benefit from providing their workers with the support and resources necessary to return to work when they are ready. And while workers' comp benefits can serve both employer and employee, abuses to the system can hurt both sides as well.
A number of illegal workers' comp cases came to light recently in one state, illustrating how fraudulent claims are made and prosecuted. The most common type of fraudulent claims to arise as of late involves people continuing to work while they collected benefits. Given that workers' comp is intended to lessen the burden on individuals that cannot currently make a living, it is illegal to accept benefits if and when you are fit to return to work. Some of those found guilty of this type of fraud owed restitution and faced probation.
In Colorado, as in most states around the country, employers are required to protect workers against the risk of workplace-related injuries and illnesses. Therefore, they pay into workers' compensation benefits for employees, which can cover lost wages and treatment costs for many different types of medical conditions. Though, policies do vary from state to state, affecting the level of coverage eligible workers may receive. While most workers are confined to the laws of the state they live and work in, many professional athletes have found a way to get the most out of their workers' comp claims by filing out of state.
More than one notable Colorado sports player has contributed to the trend of crossing state lines to file a claim for workers' comp. Laws in one West Coast state allow visiting athletes to be reimbursed for injuries they sustained even if their team is from another state. Similarly, these athletes can be covered for medical expenses incurred by related injuries and/or conditions that may arise later but that are linked to injuries that occurred on the field or court.