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Work accident after worker fails to understand English training

Company owners in Missouri have a duty to provide their workers with sufficient training to enable them to complete the tasks they are expected to do. In addition, workers should receive training in the safe operation of any equipment they will be required to operate. Employers who disregard the strict safety regulations that are prescribed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may be held responsible if a work accident occurs.

Injured workers are not allowed to file claims against their employers, but they may claim benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance fund. However, when a third-party is believed to have been responsible for a workplace injury or death, a worker may file a claim against it -- in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. An incident in another state led to a third-party company facing a personal injury claim after a worker lost one finger and the use of two more when he was expected to operate equipment without proper training.

The plaintiff claims to have been certified to use the aerial boom but alleges that he attended training where all study materials were offered in English while he does not understand or speak the language. He claims that a person wanting him to work on the machine wrote the certification examination on his behalf. He was subsequently required to work on the aerial boom when he allegedly suffered an injury to his hand. The worker named several defendants in the lawsuit he recently filed, including the company who provided the training and certified him to use the equipment.

Missouri workers may have suffered personal injury in similar circumstances where they were instructed to work on equipment despite their lack of knowledge of the operation or the potential safety hazards. They have the right to claim benefits from the workers’ compensation benefits fund, and as in the case described above, they may want to pursue recovery of damages where a third-party contributed to the work accident. While workers’ compensation usually covers medical expenses and lost wages, a personal injury claim in a civil court may also award damages to cover claims such as additional pain and suffering.

Source: The Louisiana Record, "Employee files suit against employer over allegedly debilitating work-related accident", Andrew Stevens, July 24, 2014

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