Pennsylvania companies must provide employees injured in the course of their duties with documentation to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. When an accident causes severe harm, however, a legal action may help an employee recover from life-altering injuries.
A company may face liability when negligence causes a worker to suffer a serious injury. An employer owes a duty of care to provide workers with safe and properly maintained premises, as described by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. If a job requires using care and caution to prevent an injury, an employer must also train workers to perform their tasks safely.
Employers must warn employees of a known hazard
Employees have a right to find their worksites free of debris, toxins or other hazards. In the event that a worksite presents a temporary danger, an employer must provide visible signs to warn employees of the risks.
Typical warnings include orange cones and yellow tape or “Caution” signs around areas that employees should avoid. If signs and cones are unavailable, verbal warnings or constant monitoring may serve to prevent accidents. Failing to provide a warning may result in a company facing legal action over harm caused by an accident.
Former employee receives a $10 million settlement
A former carpentry foreman slipped and fell in a hallway covered in ice at a construction site. The accident caused devastating injuries that required the 43-year-old man to undergo surgery on his right leg and ankle five different times. As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, a lawsuit against the employer resulted in a settlement of $10 million.
Another employee had drilled into a water line by accident, causing the hallway to flood. The water turned to ice quickly. Although an employee physically stood in the hallway to warn others of the danger, he stepped away before the foreman slipped on the ice.
When employers know of workplace risks and dangers, they owe a duty of care to warn others to stay away. A company may otherwise find itself liable for damages resulting from its employee’s medical expenses and long-term treatment.