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Employers Continue To Put Their Workers At Risk - What Are Injured Workers' Legal Rights After Workplace Accidents In NJ?


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5/5/2014
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As a personal injury lawyer, I often get news alerts about PA and NJ construction/industrial accidents.  After I read the news reports about the accidents, such as falls from height accidents, electrocution accidents, industrial machinery accidents, etc., I am always amazed at the employers’ flagrant disregard for the safety of their employees which led to the construction and industrial machinery accidents.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has industry guidelines and standards that employers must follow to protect construction and industrial workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  However, many employers disregard the standards and continue to ignore the standards even after receiving violation notices from OSHA.

Related Case Result: Roofer falls from roof awarded $3,300,000 settlement

The most recent repeat violation offender in our area is a New Jersey masonry contractor.  Last month, a Garfield based stucco and construction company, East Coast Stucco & Construction Inc., was cited for fall and scaffolding hazards found at its worksite in North Brunswick, NJ.  A two-story restaurant was under construction at the worksite.  In November 2013, OSHA inspected the worksite due to complaints about the lack of fall protection.  OSHA has cited the company and proposed financial penalties for putting its workers at risk. *Source: www.osha.gov

Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office, said, “[t]his employer is well aware that the chief scaffolding hazard involves falls, yet it continues to jeopardize worker safety by failing to provide proper fall protection and ensuring scaffolding safeguards are in place."

The company’s repeat violations include:

  • not bracing scaffolds properly,
  • lack of fall protection,
  • incomplete work platforms, and
  • unsafe access to scaffolds.

The company was cited for similar violations back in 2010.

A NJ Injured Worker’s Right To Sue His/Her Employer

Pursuant to NJ workers’ compensation law, an injured employee in NJ cannot sue his employer for injuries sustained while at work, such as at a construction site. However, there is an exception to this rule.

An injured worker may sue his employer when his employer commits an intentional wrong or an intentional act, one where the employer knows that the consequences of the act are substantially certain to result in harm.  To read a detailed discussion of the intentional wrong exception, see When Can an Injured Worker Sue an Employer Under New Jersey Law?

If workers at this construction site are injured due to lack of fall protection, there is a strong argument that the employer committed an intentional wrong after being cited for similar violations in 2010.  Despite knowing that the lack of fall protection is substantially certain to lead to a workplace fall-injury accident, the employer ignored OSHA’s citation.

Hurt At A Construction Site? FREE Consultation

If you or a loved one was injured at a worksite and would like to explore your legal rights, call Daniel J. O’Brien at 877.944.8396.  Mr. O’Brien is an experienced personal injury lawyer licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has helped numerous injured workers who were injured while at work. 



Category: Construction and Industrial Accidents

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