Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

Workers' compensation eligibility not affected by OSHA findings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced the outcome of an investigation into a 2019 workplace accident that caused serious injuries to an employee of a New Jersey aluminum manufacturer. Although investigators found evidence of employer negligence, their findings do not affect the eligibility of injured employees for workers' compensation benefits. The safety agency typically has six months to investigate workplace accidents, but benefits claims can proceed immediately after the accident.

In Aug. 2019, a worker suffered serious injuries when a steel plate became dislodged from a crane and dropped onto his foot. The worker was hospitalized, and details about his injury, treatment and recovery were not included in the report. However, OSHA investigators determined that prescribed crane inspections were not carried out, and this might have led to the incident.

OSHA also noted that the business was added to the agency's list of severe violators to be part of an enforcement program for those who are commit repeated safety violations. The violations include the failure to report the injury that led to hospitalization within the prescribed 24 hours. Also included are failure to conduct crane inspections each year and negligence in the balancing and securing of the crane's load.

The first thing victims of work-related accidents in New Jersey must do is get the necessary medical treatment and report the injury to the employer. This is also the time to start with the steps to obtain workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages for the period of temporary disability. The benefits claims process could be complicated, but the skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney can simplify the process.

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