When you are working around machinery or dangerous tools, you probably want to take care that you are safe in the workplace. Too often, though, companies do not take the right steps to make sure that their employees are safe. In fact, sometimes companies even remove safety equipment after its installation, or fail to install safer equipment even when it is available. When that happens, often the employee bears the result.
In the recent case of Saarinen v. Hall, the Alabama Supreme Court looked directly at whether the employer should be responsible when they fail to install a safer piece of equipment they have available. In doing so, the court examined whether the way Alabama law is worded required the company to install the safer equipment they had available. As in far too many cases, the injured worker ended up with the short end of the stick.
In this case, the employee used a saw each day. The saw did have a guard on it; however, the employee believed that the guard that came with the saw was did not provide enough protection. He complained to the higher-ups in the company, and they installed a new guard on the saw that provided somewhat better protection. Additionally, they bought a new saw made by a different company which was supposed to be safer than the saw that the employee was using.
The company did not install the new saw immediately. They told the employee that they were too busy to install the saw. About a month later, the employee was injured using the old saw.
The employee sued the company and his coworkers that were responsible. He relied on an Alabama law that says that if the company removes a safety guard, they are responsible for any injuries. His argument was that by not installing the new safer saw, the company was basically removing a safety measure they could have put in place.
The trial court agreed with the employee’s argument, but the coworkers appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. The court then overruled the trial court. They looked at the law and the facts of the case, and basically decided that the employee’s case did not fall within the law. As a result, the employee lost the case.
Even if it seems like you should not responsible for your injury, sometimes it does not go your way. Despite that, having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side can make all the difference. Contact INGRAM LAW LLC at (205) 656-0044. for an attorney that can help you with your workers’ compensation case.