Unsafe Working Conditions? Fight for Your Rights

unsafe working conditionsHave you been injured in a workplace accident due to unsafe working conditions? If so, you may wish to seek civil penalties from your employer. In California, employers who have accrued workplace safety violations from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration may be held liable for damages in a civil court. An experienced labor & employment attorney can advise you further.

Workers Injured Due to Unsafe Working Conditions

Unfortunately, employees are exposed all too often in the workplace to unsafe working conditions.  Over the years, a number of serious incidents have been the result of lax workplace policies and shoddy enforcement of safety procedures:

  • When an employee was installing a solar panel for Elite Electric, he slipped and crashed through a skylight, landing 29 feet below. He was not strapped into any type of protective harness, and no protective measures of any kind were available in the area.  
  • Custodial employees at the Kaiser Foundations Hospital were expected to dispose of collection boxes that were filled with uncapped needles, even though the boxes often were filled to overflowing and the lids would not properly close. Employers must protect all workers from blood-borne disease, and were clearly negligent here.
  • Ashley Furniture faced several safety violations that imperiled employees, including failing to appropriately separate oxygen cylinders from fuel gas cylinders, failing to repair or replace damaged cords on industrial trucks, and failing to provide appropriate guards on a vertical band saw.
  • One employee was injured and another killed in an electrocution incident at Five Star Plastering Inc. when the metal scaffolding came into contact with a live power line. The workers had received no safety training prior to the accident.
  • Two Disney workers experienced a fatal, 80-foot fall from a platform that had been hoisted from a crane. The crane involved had not been inspected, and the operator had not performed necessary test runs or had rigging materials inspected prior to the accident.
  • Three employees were sprayed with molten metal after Tesla Motors failed to repair a damaged safety lock. None of the employees had been trained in potential hazards of working with the machine, and none were wearing protective headgear.
  • An employee for Three Frogs Inc. was killed after using incorrect procedures while cutting down a Eucalyptus tree. Appropriate training and rigging were not provided to the employees.
  • Two individuals contracted Valley Fever because employees were not protected from airborne dust at First Solar Electric.

[Read more…]

Unsafe Work Environment and California Law

unsafe work environmentUnsafe work environment and employer responsibility.Everyone deserves a safe working environment, but what if your employer fails to implement common sense procedures, training, and equipment in order to keep workers safe and productive? If you are injured due to employer negligence, you may be entitled to more than just workers’ compensation. Your employer may be on the hook for compensatory and even punitive damages. An experienced employment law attorney can help.

Facts About an Unsafe Work Environment and Workplace Injuries

The truth is, workplace injuries are an epidemic, with nearly 4 ½ million occurring in this country every year, not counting the fatal injuries. These unsafe work environment accidents cost billions annually in medical and insurance costs, not to mention lost wages, interruptions in production, and other costs.

Unsafe Work Environment and Employer Responsibilities

Workplace safety is no minor responsibility. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) details specific practices and procedures that employers must follow. Among the requirements are:

  • Provide a hazard-free workplace that is in compliance with OSHA standards;
  • Regularly conduct inspections to determine workplace complies with OSHA safety standards;
  • Ensure that employees use properly maintained equipment and tools;
  • Warn of potential hazards with posters, labels and/or color coding, and make sure employees are aware of health/safety rules;
  • Regularly update and communicate operating procedures related to safety issues;
  • Provide safety training in a language understood by employees;
  • Implement a written program to communicate information relating to hazardous chemicals and train employees in intervention methods;
  • Post employee safety rights and responsibilities;
  • Maintain accurate illness and injury reports;

Employee Rights When There is an Unsafe Work Environment

When an employee believes that the working environment is dangerous, the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) protects that employee’s right to refuse to work. This applies to all workers, whether or not they are union members.

Unsafe Work Environment and Employer Penalties

State and federal governments intently regulate safety practices, and violations can result in serious and expensive consequences:

  • When a GM plant in New York experienced multiple violations, including blocked exit routes, improper protective equipment, and inadequate guards around moving machinery parts, they were fined $160,000;
  • A Weyerhauser plant in West Virginia under reported injuries and illnesses, they were fined $77,000 and audited for 9 months;
  • Fru-Con Construction Corp failed to properly secure a launching truss, they were fined $280,000.
When Can You Sue for a Workplace Injury?

If your employer knowingly facilitated a hazardous workplace, you may be able to seek damages through the courts. Because you have legitimate expectation to a safe working environment, egregious or intentional conduct that leads to injury may be compensable. Additionally, if your injury was the result of defective equipment or other products, the manufacturer may be liable for damages. [Read more…]


The information on this website should not be considered to be legal advice, nor construed to be the formation of any manner of attorney client relationship. Prior to taking any form of legal action, please consult with an attorney experienced in the appropriate area of law germane to your situation. Case results and testimonials presented on www.californialaborandemploymentlaw.net or any of its related websites are germane to the facts present for each individual case and is not a promise of similar outcomes for any other cases. This website is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California.