Construction safety rules are intended to protect workers from unnecessary and avoidable risks. Unfortunately, they are often ignored in the field by those responsible for planning and scheduling work until the tragic moment when someone gets seriously hurt. Adding to the tragedy, these construction safety rules are then used to blame the worker for performing the dangerous work which he was exposed to because of bad decisions by others.
GWC recently obtained a record settlement for an apprentice millwright who lost his hand when assigned to work on an operating conveyor chain. A month after the fact, when the young man was at home recuperating, he received a letter notifying him he was fired for violating lock out tag out rules. His journeyman and foreman were also fired.
Undertaking an exhaustive investigation, including review of thousands of documents and depositions of over 25 witnesses, GWC was able to prove that workers were forced to work on the operating conveyor chain for weeks prior to the tragedy. We proved that, despite their denials, upper level managers knew it, and not only allowed it but also actively planned and scheduled this dangerous work in order to meet production goals. Finally, we proved that workers were never given the option of locking out the conveyor chain.
The large settlement for the injured worker not only provided him significant compensation for his loss, but it also vindicated the actions of all 3 workers who were fired.
In many of our cases, we face the hurdle of not only proving the defendant’s fault, but of also defending the decisions and choices of our injured clients. We often hear from our opponent lawyers and insurance companies that they will never pay on a certain case because they blame the plaintiff. AT GWC we accept that as a starting point, not the stopping point, in our efforts to obtain compensation (and perhaps vindication) for injured workers.