Previous posts in this blog have discussed Pennsylvania employers'
responsibility to keep their employees safe while on the job. However,
at many industrial work sites and construction work sites this can become
complicated because there are often many parties involved.
industrial accident that occurred on a Pennsylvania company's property in West Virginia
led to the death of an employee working for a different company. This
incident has now become the subject of an OSHA investigation.
The accident occurred at Pennsylvania-based CONSOL's mine preparation
plant located in West Virginia. A gas-drilling rig was the cause of the
employee's death. The employee, working for another company based
out of another state, was fatally injured on a Monday evening when the
rig turned over and crushed him. Before the accident, the rig was being
used to drill 30-foot holes and perform seismic testing with explosives.
CONSOL had given the worker's employer access to its property and another
company had obtained the necessary permits. However, this man's family
will be entitled to workers' compensation death benefits since he
was fatally injured on the job. His employer is responsible for paying
those benefits. But if the accident was caused by the negligence of a
non-employer third party, such as another company working at the site,
the worker's next of kin have the right to bring a civil lawsuit for
wrongful death against that negligent party. In such a lawsuit, since
the employer is not a defendant, the next of kin are not subject to the
monetary limits of the workers' compensation statute. Their wrongful
death recovery may be reduced, however, to reflect the fact that they
have received workers' compensation benefits.
Source: Charleston Gazette, "OSHA has jurisdiction to investigate death at Marion mine preparation plant," Jan. 14, 2013