Today’s post is by our colleague Todd Bennett of Nebraska.
Your employer is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance for you.
Every employer not in agriculture, farm or ranch operations is required to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation coverage for all employees. Those employers who voluntarily and willfully fail to obtain and maintain coverage violate the law and subject themselves to significant risks.
If you are an employee who is injured in the course of your employment and you learn that your employer has not maintained workers’ compensation coverage for you, you can either file a claim against the employer in civil court or file a claim in the Workers’ Compensation Court.
Employers who try to avoid their legal obligations and avoid providing workers’ compensation coverage expose themselves to monetary judgments in civil court, stop-work orders from the Attorney General’s office, injunctions from continuing to operate their business, assessments against their property, daily penalties of Continue reading
Today we have a guest post from our colleague Rod Rehm of Nebraska.
You cannot take for granted that your workplace is safe, or that your employer is even following its own policies. Farmers Union Cooperative Supply of Stanton, Nebraska, a grain elevator, was recently sentenced in the death of an employee, Donald Stodola. Stodola was working in a confined space without proper ventilation. The lack of oxygen in the space caused Stodola’s death. Farmers knew that it was violating both a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation and its own written safety manual. Farmers’ failure to comply with regulations and its own internal policies caused a completely preventable employee death.
Farmers was fined $86,000 by OSHA because it didn’t protect Stodola from an unsafe environment. In addition to the OSHA fine, the company pled guilty to violation of a criminal statute and was fined $100,000 and placed on probation for 2 years. But, according to the Norfolk Daily News, “The criminal statute violated by Farmers provides that a willful violation of an OSHA regulation, which causes the death of an employee, is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to six months, a fine of up to $500,000 or a combination of the two.”
We think that every preventable workplace death should be prevented, and a failure to do so is inexcusable.
We do not understand why the total fines issued by OSHA and the court equal ($186,000) less than 40% of the maximum criminal fine of $500,000. Farmers pled guilty to Continue reading