Carpenter Who Cut His Fingers on Table Receives $550,000 Workers’ Comp Settlement
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This was a construction accident/OSHA violation case. The construction project at issue was a $2 million dollar conversation of an old Long Beach Island motel into luxury condominiums. At the time of the accident a carpenter was directed to use an unguarded table saw to cut about three pieces of cedar shake at a time into the sizes needed for the door jams. He had been assigned to work on the saw for about two to three weeks before the accident. While performing his assigned tasks on this unguarded table saw, the wood got stuck, his hand came in contact with the blade and he suffered multiple severe finger lacerations.
The general contractor admitted he was completely ignorant of OSHA and he and his company did absolutely nothing to enforce its provisions or maintain a safe worksite. The general contractor was- by their own admission- entirely incompetent as it pertains to construction site safety and OSHA. The interim sub-contractor who hired plaintiff’s employer also bears responsibility for failing to see to it that OSHA was enforced with respect to its sub-contractors on the site. This contractor also readily admitted he was entirely ignorant of construction site safety and did absolutely nothing to enforce OSHA safety requirements of its sub-contractors.
All defendants were negligent in failing to enforce OSHA and other construction site safety responsibilities to maintain a safe workplace and ensure OSHA compliance on the job site. Specifically, defendants should not have allowing the saw in question to be used without the required safety features. The injured worker was presented with a hazardous and dangerous condition on the work site on the date of the accident by being required to use a table saw without a guard, fence or push block. OSHA has mandated specific safety requirements with respect to the use of table saws. Table saws are required to have a guard on the blade, a fence to secure the wood to be cut and a push stick to push the wood to the blade instead of the worker using his fingers.
As discussed in the report of plaintiff’s liability expert, OSHA compliance on this construction project was virtually non-existent. All major project players readily admitted they knew nothing, or next to nothing, about OSHA and construction site safety. They also readily admitted they did absolutely nothing to prevent accidents and injuries on the job and had absolutely no safety management plan whatsoever. Training of workers was non-existent. When asked about whether defendants did any kind of job monitoring to foresee and prevent accidents all witnesses were completely dumbfounded, such concepts being entirely foreign to them.
As such, a worker in his early 20s, was routinely exposed to an extremely hazardous unguarded table saw. He was given absolutely no training (contrary to OSHA) to even recognize these hazards, much less to know how to properly use this saw. As such, the serious injuries sustained were inevitable, yet entirely preventable, and all defendants share liability.
The case settled at mediation before a retired Middlesex County, N.J. Superior Court judge for $550,000. Where can I find the best accident lawyer in New Jersey? Do you need a lawyer for pain and suffering? These are all important questions we can answer for you. Contact us today. We are very successful in cases like this with a proven record of success.