Cal/OSHA has issued two citations against a Rancho Santa Margarita contractor for failing to ensure that employees were safely handling nail guns or were properly trained to use them. According to a report in the Orange County Register, the company was fined $225,000 for these safety violations.
Record of Accidents and Injuries
The Register reviewed the company’s injury log and found 34 nail gun-related injuries since 2016. The recently closed investigation is the fifth case against the contractor to result in fines since 2014, according to OSHA records.
The most recent case was filed after an employee unintentionally fired a nail into his left arm while working in April in Lake Forest. The company was cited for a similar accident in 2015 when a worker in San Diego slipped and shot a nail into his knee while installing hangar brackets.
In addition to nail gun injuries, two other workers were injured in falls that year. One suffered a fractured leg and spinal injuries when he fell 11 feet in December 2015. Nine months earlier, a carpenter with the company fell 9 feet and broke his wrist. Officials have said that they would not shut down any projects or issue stop-work orders at the present time.
Compensation for Injured Workers
Under federal and state labor laws, employers have a legal obligation to provide workers with a safe and healthy environment to work. There is no question that construction is one of the most dangerous industries with a number of inherent hazards. However, most accidents that occur at construction sites are preventable with proper training, safety measures and personal protective equipment.
In cases involving nail gun accidents, injured employees may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits that typically cover medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. In addition, victims may be able to file a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the nail gun if a product defect caused or contributed to a malfunction and the resulting injuries. A worker here may be able to file a product defect claim in addition to seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Please remember that a third-party claim may be brought against any negligent parties other than the employer or co-employees.
Injured workers would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled a wide variety of workplace injury cases and has obtained significant compensation for workers by filing third-party claims.