Based on the safety regulations prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employees in Florida should be able to rely on their employers to provide work environments that are free of known hazards. Although accidents can certainly happen despite safety precautions, it is unacceptable for employers to put their employees' lives on the line willfully. Fortunately, the state's workers' compensation insurance program is there to protect injured workers and provide financial assistance to families who lose loved ones in work-related accidents.
Demolitions of multi-story buildings are dangerous procedures that often leave construction workers injured. Although their workers' compensation insurance benefits typically cover medical expenses, these victims are sometimes left with long-term health problems or disabilities. An unplanned collapse of a building being demolished in Florida recently caused critical injuries to a construction worker.
Regardless of how careful workers are, accidents will happen. Unfortunately, lives are sometimes lost, as is evident in the number of workers' compensation survivors' benefits claims filed in Florida every year. One such tragic workplace accident occurred at Disney's Pop Century Resort in Lake Buena Vista on a recent Monday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration runs regional emphasis programs throughout the year. They use these programs to focus on certain employee safety issues by carrying out random inspections to check compliance with safety regulations. As part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction, an investigation at a Florida roofing company led to a significant fine. Thousands of dollars are paid out for workers' compensation benefits claims of fall victims every year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed a $71,000 penalty after an investigation at a behavioral health facility in Florida. The safety violations that were identified at this acute care inpatient center underscore the hazards to which workers in such facilities are exposed. Many workers' compensation benefits claims are filed by injured employees who were victims of violent patients.
Many employees in mental health facilities suffer serious injuries because they are not properly protected against assaults by mental health patients who become violent. Many workers' compensation claims follow such violence every year. Following an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a behavioral health center in Florida faces over $71,000 in proposed penalties.
The recent penalties issued to a utility contractor in Florida underscores the many ways in which employers expose their workers to life-threatening hazards. Too many workers suffer catastrophic injuries or even lose their lives due to business owners' noncompliance with federal safety regulations. While the fact that workers' compensation benefits are available may provide some comfort, it could never replace a lost limb or loved one.
When a life is lost in a Florida workplace, the surviving family members are typically entitled to seek financial relief. This is done by filing a workers' compensation death benefits claim. However, in some cases, such claims can be extremely complicated, especially if the deceased worker was employed by an entity from another state -- or even another country.
Following the horrific tragedy of the recent shooting at a Florida high school, Jimmy Patronis, chief financial officer and state fire marshal of Florida, visited the area to talk to first responders. His particular concern is the mental health care access for these workers who, without second thoughts, would put their lives on the line for others. However, he came away with the conclusion that with the current workers' compensation rules, first responders are shamefully let down.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety rules covering roof workers in Florida. However, the agency says there has been an 80 percent increase over the past two years in the number of citations issued in the Jacksonville area for contractors allowing employees to do roof work without the required fall protection. Falls are said to be the cause of a significant percentage of all workers' compensation claims.