Blade Contracting, Inc., a company based in Staten Island, was cited for various violations at its Jersey City, New Jersey work site.
The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) started the investigation because a masonry worker was injured after falling from a sixth floor balcony while trying to get on a suspension scaffold. The investigation resulted in various violations, including a willful violation.
OSHA defines "willful violation" as an act done with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with indifference to workers' safety and health.
In this particular instance, the company used makeshift devices on top of scaffolds to increase the working level height of employees and failed to protect workers on scaffolds from fall hazards.
In addition to the willful violation, there were two repeat violations where workers were exposed to fall hazards because they were unprotected on scaffolds and on a sixth floor balcony. These violations were cited back in 2007 and 2010.
The New Jersey workers' compensation law has an exception that allows injured workers to sue their employers for intentional wrongs. It can be argued that the willful violation in this situation would allow the injured masonry worker to bring a lawsuit against his employer.
Using a makeshift device on top of scaffolds can be argued as an intentional act. Though the repeat violations were not cited as willful violations, it can be argued that they are intentional wrongs because the company was cited for the same violations previously on two occasions.
For more information about New Jersey Workers' Compensation Law and its exceptions, contact the experienced workplace accident lawyers at White and Williams who have helped injured workers recover compensation from their employers for intentional wrongs.