Miami Workers' Compensation Law Blog
A worker at a Naples restaurant was injured on March 25 when an oven exploded as she tried to light it. The 30-year-old woman was taken to Naples Community Hospital for the treatment of injuries to her arms, chest, neck and head.
According to investigators, gas had been building up in the oven because of a gas leak. The pilot light was off, and the gas accumulated overnight, which is what led to the explosion when the woman tried to turn on the oven. After the accident, the other ovens were examined, and another gas leak was discovered. All affected ovens were disconnected pending further examination and repair, and the restaurant was still open for the lunch crowd despite the unusable equipment.
In a construction work site accident in Apollo Beach on March 21, a male worker was stuck in a deep hole filled with mud and water for approximately two hours. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for investigating workplace accidents such as this one, and the organization is currently conducting an investigation on the employer to determine if a violation occurred that resulted in the accident.
The incident involved a worker employed by DEME Construction, and this company is licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations. Research conducted by a Florida news agency revealed that DEME Construction had never previously been investigated by OSHA for safety violations.
The parents of an 18-year-old man killed in a construction-related accident on Jan. 16 in Taylor County have filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Their son was killed while working on the construction of a new bridge on Highway 98 when a steel bridge girder fell on him. He was employed by GLF Construction at the time of his death.
The parents of the deceased man are seeking $10 million in damages in a wrongful death claim against the construction company and the Florida Department of Transportation. The accident occurred when girders were being moved from a temporary bridge in place until the completion of the new bridge. There has been no response from either party mentioned in the wrongful death accident suit.
A recent study sheds light on the correlation between sleep and workplace safety in workplaces in Florida and around the country. According to the study, the number of mining injuries between 1983 and 2006 was 5.7 percent higher on the Monday following the switch to daylight saving time than on all other Mondays, and the number of days missed due to an injury sustained on those Mondays rose by 67.6 percent compared to the average.
Research shows that fatigue often leads to mistakes. Insufficient sleep has been documented as one of the primary causes in car accidents and train wrecks. The reason the phenomenon seems to be more prevalent following the change to DST has to do with a person's internal clock. Most people find it hard to fall asleep earlier than usual, so when the clocks move ahead, many people lose a significant amount of sleep that night.
A 36-year-old Florida man died of blunt force injuries when a train derailed on Oct. 24, 2013, at 6:35 a.m. The man was the conductor of a train pushing 10 cars of gravel backward in Sanford when it collided with a derailer placed on the tracks by an employee of RailWorks Maintenance of Way Inc. approximately five minutes before the accident. The construction worker said he did not have any reason to suspect that a train was approaching. The weather at the time of the crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, caused reduced visibility.
A report said the accident resulted from a failure of all parties to communicate efficiently. It is not known if the conductor knew derailers were placed on the tracks; however, a co-worker said the victim had mentioned a curfew prior to the crash. Derailers are portable systems used to force a train off the rails, and the mention of a curfew suggests that conductors required permission to move trains at the time of the accident.
A Miami law enforcement officer might have saved the life of a construction worker who was working at a project near Southwest 37th Avenue and Bird Road on Feb. 21. While operating a concrete boom, the worker was electrocuted when the boom accidentally came into contact with a high-powered wire just after 2 p.m. and he received a heavy jolt. Another worker rushed to the man's aid, but he was also shocked when he made contact with the first man.
A Miami Fire Rescue representative said that both men lost consciousness, and the first man stopped breathing. When a police officer arrived, he called for aid and began to administer CPR. His actions are believed to have saved the first man's life. Further information on the men's conditions was not available at the time of the report.
Construction workers completing tasks on a Fort Lauderdale overpass were taken by surprise when their scaffolding suddenly collapsed on Feb. 10. Four men were on the scaffolding performing a job on Interstate 95 when the support cables apparently broke at around 3:30 p.m., causing the platform to drop into the water and railway below. According to reports, one crew member was rushed to the hospital for a severe work injury after he fell and landed on the damaged scaffolding.
The other three men were trapped above ground in safety harnesses until an emergency team could respond. Rescuers initially retrieved two of the remaining men before making a final trip to lower the last worker. The workers were suspended approximately 100 feet off the ground, and one of the men was reported to have been hanging in midair for an hour and thirty minutes.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Florida company after an examination found 22 safety violations and 12 serious violations. The agency initiated the investigation after the company, Lucas Marine Acquisition Company, had two fatalities over a period of five months.
One of the employees died as he was working underwater at the City of Fort Pierce Marina on a storm-protection construction project, using an underwater breathing apparatus supplied by surface air. The OSHA investigation uncovered violations that included insufficient training, failure to provide two-way communication ability for underwater workers, failure to adequately assess the hazards of underwater operations and failure to use kink-resistant air hoses during dive operations. The penalties proposed by OSHA total $290,000.
Farmworkers in Florida may be among those hailing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal of revisions to workplace protections meant to shield them from pesticide exposure. A tightening of the Worker Protection Standard had been long desired by groups looking to minimize the chance of work injury from the poisons used to keep insects off of crops. The rules hadn't been changed in 20 years and were at least 10 years out of date, the EPA stated.
Agricultural workers and their advocates hoped that the EPA would update rules for enforcement of farm workplace protections, limits to farmworkers' exposure to pesticides and requirements for safety training. There are up to 20,000 acute poisonings of farm laborers by pesticides each year, according to the federal government. Short-term exposure may lead to effects such as nausea, headaches, respiratory ailments or even death. Longer-term contact with pesticides has been linked to cancer, Parkinson's disease and birth defects.
In a case that employees across Florida are watching, an appeals court found on Jan. 17 that a casino was responsible for workers' compensation in a September 2012 car wreck in Atlantic City in which a worker suffered injuries. The two judges determined that the casino must pay for the employee's injuries under a workers' compensation claim because her SUV was still in the casino driveway by one foot. A judge with the Division of Workers' Compensation previously sided with her in May 2013.
The dealer for Harrah's was leaving her evening shift at 10 p.m. on the night of the accident. However, the casino argued that it wasn't responsible for the crash, because the woman and the front of her vehicle were in a public street when the accident happened. She had pulled out of the company garage and was entering the road when her SUV was struck.