Articles Posted in Worker Safety

A worker at a Capitol Hill pizzeria caught in a dough machine Tuesday was rescued by Seattle firefighters. At 2:54 p.m., firefighters were called to Toscana Pizzeria after a man in his 30s got his hand caught in a dough-making machine there. Firefighters worked for 15 minutes to disassemble the machine and free the man, a Fire Department spokesman said in a statement. The man suffered serious injuries to his hand and fingers and was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

Under circumstances like these, Washington’s worker’s comp insurance generally covers the medical costs and a portion of an injured worker’s lost wages. However, L&I does not cover the entirety of the injured worker’s damages. In exchange for our worker’s comp scheme, injured workers are prohibited from bringing suit against their employers for negligence.

It is unclear from the facts available in this story whether there is a third party that may potentially be liable for the man’s injuries, but this story provides an illustration for the type of situation in which an injured worker may have a claim against a third party. Where equipment used on the job is defective and causes an injury, there is often a claim against the manufacturer of the equipment. Such a claim is not barred by worker’s comp. An injured worker who prevails on such a product liability claim would generally be entitled to recover the balance of their lost wages not paid by L&I, damages for pain and suffering, and other damages.

A 30-year-old Boeing employee was released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle yesterday, months after being trapped under the landing gear of a 787 jet. For 40 minutes the man was stuck under the jet. He recalls “horrible pain” and shouting updates to his rescuers at Paine Field like, “My hips are trapped” and “My femur just broke.” That way, he says, they knew what was going on, “and I had a release of pain just by yelling.” It is unclear what caused the accident. As a result of his injuries, the man had both legs amputated below the knees and faces months of rehabilitation. A doctor in the hospital’s rehab unit says learning to walk with prosthetic limbs on both sides is “really like walking on stilts.” Although workers injured on the job do not usually have claims against their employer directly, they may have claims against third party contractors involved in their injuries.

For more information and a free, no obligation consultation regarding third party on the job injury claims please call our office at 866-377-0191. For more information about this story see http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Boeing-worker-trapped-under-787-leaves-hospital-3442558.php#ixzz1qWL0G4XS.

Washington State University was recently fined $82,500 by the U.S. Department of Education for campus safety violations, which was reduced to $15,000 by a federal administrative judge. The fine is for violations in 2007 of a campus crime reporting law which requires notifications of potential threats to students and employees. Both violations involved the improper reporting of sexual assaults. In one case a possible forcible rape was classified as a “domestic dispute” and another improperly labeled “unfounded”. WSU was one of several universities, including Virginia Tech, that were found in violation of the law.

Victims of crimes resulting from improper security on university campuses may have claims against the university. You may contact our firm for more information and a free, no obligation consultation at 866-377-0191.

Commercial divers have some of the most physically demanding jobs out there. Long periods of time spent in cold, murky water can cause a host of physical ailments, and the work often also involves construction or demolition projects executed with dangerous equipment.

Proper training of both diver employees and their employers is essential, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues standards by which commercial diving operations must be conducted.

OSHA recently updated Part 1910, Subpart T of the regulations related to commercial diving. The changes are found in Directive Number CPL-02-00-151 issued June 13, 2011.

BREMERTON, Wash. – A tug/barge worker on a bridge construction project was critically injured Saturday morning, March 5, 2011, when he was struck in the head.  Following the injury, the marine worker was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with severe head trauma, and his injuries appear to be life-threatening, Bremerton fire officials said.

The 39-year-old man was unconscious following the 8 a.m. accident. The injured tug/barge worker is part of a crew that is building a new bridge across Bremerton’s Port Washington Narrows to replace the aging Manette Bridge.  He was working on a barge or small tugboat under the bridge at the time of the accident.  All work on the bridge project was halted after the accident.

In Mai v. American Seafoods Company, 2011 Wash. App. LEXIS 615 (2011), our law firm represented a fish processing employee who injured her knee when she was struck by a 40 pound box of frozen fish product during an offload in Dutch Harbor. When our client’s doctor determined that she needed a total knee replacement, American Seafoods refused to pay for the medical treatment or pay maintenance to Mai unless she submitted to a company medical examination in Seattle. When Mai refused to submit to the examination, American Seafoods terminated her maintenance and cure and filed a declaratory judgment action against Mai in federal court in Seattle.

The Washington Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s finding that American Seafoods’ refusal to pay maintenance and cure was “willful, persistent, and unreasonable.” The court stated: “The trial court could reasonably conclude from the evidence that the true reason for this challenge was a desire to develop expert testimony for anticipated litigation, rather than any serious question about Mai’s knee for a [total knee replacement].”

Soundly rejecting American Seafoods’ claim that it could deny maintenance and cure if Mai refused to submit to a medical examination by company doctors, the court stated: “We hold that . . . ASC could not condition Mai’s receipt of maintenance and cure upon her attendance at an IME.” It also stated: “[R]eported maritime law decisions provide little support for ASC’s claim that the scope of that investigation goes so far as to allow a shipowner to avoid maintenance and cure liability under the facts of this case.”