There are many jobs within the construction industry that one would think
to be inherently dangerous and create the possibility for fatal injuries.
However, painting is not likely one aspect of construction that comes
to mind. However, no matter how inherently dangerous the occupation, the
employer is required to take the necessary steps toward workplace safety
and protecting their employees. If they do not and there is a fatal injury,
it could result in a
wrongful death claim and sanctions by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A Pennsylvania employer has been sentenced to one year of probation after
willfully violating an OSHA regulation. The employer, a painting business,
assigned an employee to a painting job very near to active electrical
lines that he knew were not sleeved for protection. He gave the employee
a simple verbal warning and sent him on his way to complete the work.
When the employee got close to the area of the active lines, he was painting
with a roller attached to a pole. The pole touched the active lines causing
the man to suffer a fatal electric shock.
As is common with many workplace accidents, OSHA investigated the accident
and the result was the sanction placed on the employer. However, in addition
to OSHA sanctions, when employees are injured from a job site accident
or, even worse, killed on the job, the employer most likely owes them
or their loved ones compensation under Pennsylvania's workers'
The amount of compensation depends upon the nature of the accident and
the resulting injury. The injured employee must file a claim for workers'
compensation benefits. Once that claim is approved, they may be able to
receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other financial
obligations that arise as a result of the job site injury.
In a situation that involves an employee suffering a fatal injury, the
employer may owe the loved ones of the deceased compensation under a wrongful
death claim. If the claim is successful, the family may be able to receive
compensation for medical expenses, death expenses, lost wages and potentially
even pain and suffering.
Source: Westmoreland Times, "Contractor sentenced after pleading guilty to violating OSHA regulation,
causing the death of an employee," Oct. 26, 2012