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February 10th, 2016

PA Work Injury News: PA Roofing Contractor Continues to Expose Workers to Fall Hazards

Constructions workers are injured at worksites in Pennsylvania too often. Employers violate OSHA regulations that ensure a safe worksite. Many employers are cited by OSHA for violating federal regulations. Some employers continue to violate OSHA violations despite having been previously cited and assessed with monetary penalties.

Earlier this month, a citation was issued to a Delaware County, Pennsylvania roofing contractor for continuing to expose workers to fall hazards. DDP Roofing Services, Inc. has been cited before by OSHA and this time the citation relates to dangers at its Conshohocken worksite. *Source: www.OSHA.gov

OSHA’s Findings

OSHA issued citations for one serious violation and one repeat safety violation. The contractor failed to provide personal protective equipment during the use of pneumatically powered nail guns which is a serious safety violation. The repeat violation was for the PA roofing company’s failure to provide fall protection equipment for its workers. The company has been cited for similar hazards eight times since 2008 for failing to provide fall protection and exposing its workers to other fall-related hazards at worksites in the Philadelphia area, Maryland and New Jersey. OSHA is proposing $41,580 in penalties for these violations.

Related PA Work Injury Nail Gun Case Result: $1 million recovery for a worker who was injured after a nail gun discharged sideways and hit the worker’s eye.

If workers were injured in this above situation, what are their legal rights? This article will discuss workers’ rights in terms of workers’ compensation and their rights beyond workers’ compensation in such situations.

The Basics of PA Workers’ Compensation Law & PA Work Injury

If a Pennsylvania worker is injured at work, they may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, such as medical benefits and lost pay. An injured worker may receive workers’ comp benefits in PA so long as the following three criteria are met:

  1. The accident or injury happened during the course and scope of employment. In other words, the accident or injury must have happened while the worker was at work, such as a Pennsylvania construction worker who is injured after falling from a scaffold at a construction site.
  2. The employer must have a valid workers’ compensation insurance plan. PA employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. If an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, then an injured worker may sue the employer in a negligence action. This will be discussed in detail in the next section.
  3. The employer must be notified of the accident in a timely manner. In general, the law provides that an injured worker has 21 days to notify the employer of the accident in order to receive workers’ comp benefits.

Negligence Claims Against Third Parties and Employers

Third Party Claims

Aside from receiving workers’ comp benefits, workers injured at PA worksites may have claims against other parties or third party claims.

At any given construction site in PA, there are often multiple parties on the site such as subcontractors. A worker’s accident and injuries may have been caused by another subcontractor. For instance, an electrician working in a newly constructed condominium building falls through a hole that was supposed to be covered by another subcontractor working on the site. The electrician sustains serious injuries and cannot work for a period of time. In addition to being eligible for workers’ comp benefits, he also has legal rights against the subcontractor responsible for covering the hole. The electrician may sue the subcontractor for his injuries and damages.

In a third party liability civil lawsuit, injured workers may recover the following financial damages:

  • medical expenses,
  • lost wages,
  • pain and suffering, and
  • out of pocket expenses.

Work Accident Case Result by Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey Construction Site Accident Lawyers$13 million recovery after the collapse of the Philadelphia Kimmel Center during its construction. See more work accident results.

Employer Claims

In general, injured workers cannot sue their employers for work related injuries/accidents under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law even if the employers were negligent and caused the accidents. In exchange, employers must provide workers comp benefits to workers injured while on the job even if the accidents were caused by the workers’ negligence or fault.

However, there are limited circumstances when an injured worker may sue their employer. One of them is if the employer committed an intentional wrong/conduct. These types of cases require an experienced work injury and workers’ compensation lawyer who can best analyze whether an employer committed an intentional wrong.

Another situation where an injured employee may sue their employer is if the employer failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. If the employer did not carry workers’ compensation when the worker was injured, the employer may not argue that it is protected by PA workers’ comp laws.

Applying the Law

If employees of the PA roofing company in the above situation were injured at the Conshohocken worksite, they may apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Would they have a negligence claim against the employer? It would depend on whether the employer committed an intentional wrong. An analysis of the facts and circumstances would be necessary to make that determination. Would they have third party claims? It would depend on whether other parties caused or contributed to the accident.

Employees of other parties, such as a subcontractor, who were injured as a result of the roofing company’s failure to provide fall protection may have a third party claim against the roofing company.

If you or a loved one was injured in a worksite/construction accident, it is best to speak to a worksite & construction accident lawyer immediately. Call for a free consultation. (866) 641-0806

Disclaimer: The lawyers at Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan provide quality legal advice to individuals after accepting their case. No attorney-client relationship is created by this website. Nothing on this site is intended to provide legal advice. Because every case is unique, discussion of prior outcomes and settlements in past cases is no guarantee of a similar outcome in current or future cases.