How Safety Rules Affect Workers’ Compensation Claims

Safety training programs and rules are designed to protect employees from injury while on the job reduce workers’ compensation claims.

workers comp safety rules

In an effort to cut costs on workers’ compensation insurance and claims, many businesses adopt rules and policies designed to protect their employee’s from being injured. No plan, no matter how well thought out, is without its flaws; and even the most carefully laid out safety program may not prevent every work place injury.

Employer Sponsored Safety Programs

When an employee is injured on the job, the question may be raised as to whether the employee is entitled to workers’ compensation even if the employee did not follow safety rules as set out by the employer. The answer is determined based on the specifics of the safety rule, whether or not it was enforced, and whether the employee was disobeying it. If your claim for workers’ compensation has been denied based on your disobedience of a company safety policy, speak with a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney. They can examine your case to determine if you should appeal the employer’s decision.

You will find that in almost every industry there are standard regulations in place for work-place safety. Restaurants, for example, may enforce slip resistant shoes in order to avoid slip and fall injuries on wet floors. Cable installation companies may put in place special regulations regarding the use of ladders by their employees. Whatever the case may be, no safety rule is fool proof, and an employee may still be hurt even if they are following the safety rules to the letter.

Work-Place Safety Training Programs

Another consideration is the enforceability of the safety rule and whether or not an employee was even aware of it. The Missouri Labor Board will want to see definitive proof from the employer that there was a training program for the safety procedure and that the injured employee was aware of it. For example, a restaurant may have the policy that slip resistant shoes must be worn, but if the employees have not worn them in months and no manager has made mention of it, an employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage if the employee falls on the kitchen floor.

An appeal that was heard by the Missouri Labor Board involved a truck driver who was injured when part of a load fell off of the truck as she opened the back door. While there did seem to be mention of opening only one door at a time in the employee safety manual, this rule was never regularly enforced. After being initially denied for the claim to be compensated for her medical care, the Labor Board heard her appeal and determined the employee was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In Missouri, a claimant for workers’ compensation can lose between 25% and 50% of their benefit if the employer can show sufficient evidence that a safety rule was well known, consistently enforced, and disobeyed by the employee at the time of the accident, causing their injury. Since the claimant in this case was able to prove otherwise, she collected her total reward of $586.96 per week.

St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If your employer is denying your benefits based on a safety rule that you were never made aware of, you may need the assistance of a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you are able to collect the complete compensation that is owed to you. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.

Updated: October 1, 2014