When a business in California uses a staffing agency to provide temporary employees, both entities are responsible for the safety of the worker. The staffing agency must ensure that the work environment into which it places workers is free of known hazards that could cause workplace injuries. It must also provide workers with basic safety training while the company where the worker is placed is responsible for giving facility-specific safety training.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently cited both a staffing agency and a food manufacturer for the failure to comply with safety standards. Cal/OSHA proposed penalties exceeding $300,000. This followed an investigation into an incident last October in which a temporary worker suffered an amputation injury while he was cleaning a dough-rolling machine.
Investigators determined that the staffing agency failed to train the worker in the protocols of safe cleaning procedures of equipment with moving parts. Furthermore, the food manufacturer failed to maintain a lockout/tagout program to de-energize equipment during cleaning and maintenance procedures. Reportedly, the worker’s hand was pulled into the energized rollers while he was cleaning the machine, amputating two of his fingers.
Victims of workplace injuries that involve amputations may not be able to return to their usual jobs. Along with the regular benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, the California workers’ compensation system could award vocational rehabilitation benefits to equip the amputee with new skills. The support and guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help pursue recovery of maximum benefits.