The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets a number of standards to ensure workplace safety remains a top priority for employers across the country. Violations of state or federal workplace safety regulations can result in severe penalties for a business and in some instances criminal charges. A Pennsylvania business owner recently pleaded guilty to intentionally violating federal workplace safety standards after an employee was killed on the job. The 78-year-old businessman was sentenced to one year of probation in the workplace accident.
The employee was working as a painter for Modern Painting & Decorating out of Western Pennsylvania when he was painting near power lines. The 48-year-old worker was electrocuted in April of 2010. The business owner was fined almost $58,000 in the incident. The employee had been struck by electrical wires while he was painting. According to reports, the company failed to protect the employee by placing sleeves on the power lines like it had done on a prior job.
Any worker injured on the job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which vary depending on the severity of the injury. If the employee is permanently injured additional benefits are made available beyond medical expenses and lost wages. A permanent disability may result in a work comp award as well as vocational rehabilitation to train the injured employee in other employment if he or she is no longer able to return to his or her prior occupation.
In the case that an employee is killed in a workplace accident other benefits may come into play, including Social Security disability and survivor benefits for a spouse and any dependent children. In the event of a workplace accident that results in severe injury or death, it can be beneficial for the family to consult with a professional who fully understands personal injury law, including workers’ compensation and Social Security disability law in order to maximize the workers’ compensation award and disability benefits.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “W. Pa. man sentenced over employee accident, death,” Oct. 25, 2012
· Our Bristol, Pennsylvania law firm helps families and employees who are injured on the job file workers’ compensation claims and obtain the benefits they deserve for their injuries.