There is an undeniable connection between unsafe work places and workers' compensation claims. The more unsafe the job conditions, the more likely a work-related injury or death is to occur. Moreover, poor working conditions can lead to exposure to dangerous substances, which may cause disease or disability.
A Wisconsin company may face nearly $300,000 for creating and allowing health code violations at its iron foundry in Browntown, exposing hundreds of employees to dangers that carry high probabilities of causing serious or permanent injuries or deaths.
The foundry has been charged with nearly 45 health violations including such issues as:
- Exposing workers to dangerously high levels of breathable dust containing silica
- Allowing excessive accumulation of sand and dust
- Failing to guard railings and conveyor tail pulleys
- Failing to safeguard workers from metal splash hazards
- Failing to provide adequate personal protection equipment for workers' faces, eyes and hands
Additionally, the company was previously charged with many of the same violations just two years prior to the most recent inspection. Due to these repeat violations, the foundry is labeled as a serious violator of worker safety rules.
Workers' compensation benefits
Personal injury and worker compensation attorneys often receive calls from injured workers asking whether they can sue their employers for damages and losses incurred from work-related injuries. Unfortunately, even for the most egregious safety violations, employers are immune from personal injury lawsuits. An injured worker's exclusive remedy is under worker's compensation law. The only way to pursue a personal injury lawsuit is if a third party, outside of the employer, could be responsible for the injury. In most cases, an injured worker must rely on workers' compensation benefits.
In Wisconsin, when an employee suffers a work-related injury, or is exposed to dangerous chemicals or unsafe working conditions, he or she may be entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits. The workers' compensation system provides benefits that can include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Wage losses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Temporary and permanent disability awards
- Compensation to families in the event of death
- Penalties against the employer or insurance carrier for safety violations
In general, employers are required by law to provide compensation benefits to their workers. An insurance company is hired by the employer to insure the employer against losses incurred due to employee injuries. When an employee is injured or contracts a disease that is traceable to his or her employment, the insurance company handles his or her claim.
In a perfect world, the system works smoothly and the employee obtains all to which he or she is entitled. Unfortunately, claims rarely proceed as they should through the system, and insurance companies have the ability to deny claims. A Wisconsin workers' compensation lawyer can help guide you through the process of filing a claim, obtaining proper medical treatment, attending hearings and filing an appeal, if necessary. Seek legal counsel if you are injured on the job.