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Work Comp Benefits Denied When Safety Rules are Violated

While there are employee rules regarding safety standards in the workplace, there are also rules in place for the employer.

Providing workers’ compensation insurance can be financially taxing on a Missouri business. Premiums are high and rise each time a claim is filed. To offset these costs, many businesses have taken steps to provide comprehensive on-the-job training. This may reduce the costs of premiums and can help to keep workers from getting injured at all.

Under Missouri law, if an employee knowingly violates a safety code that is determined to be a workplace standard and causes injury, work comp benefits may be cut in half. If you are finding this to be the case with your work injury claim, you will need the help of a St. Louis workplace injury lawyer.

The Rule Behind the Ruling

While there are employee rules regarding safety standards in the workplace, there are also rules in place for the employer. In order for an employer to be allowed to cut your compensation in half, the safety code that was violated must have been enforced with consistency.

For example, a Missouri employee was injured after falling off of a ladder as he was carrying items upwards. While the employer attempted to reduce the amount of the claim, the employee’s attorney was able to show that while there were codes in place for how much could be carried up a ladder at a time, that code was not enforced by supervisors.

Witnesses testified that the typical practice allowed was to carry as much as you could at one time in order to complete the job faster. Not one employee who testified reported that they had been disciplined after carrying more than they should up a ladder. Because the safety rule was not enforced with regularity, the injured worker was awarded full compensation for the injury.

The Four Rules for Reducing Compensation

In order to reduce your workers’ compensation benefits for not following a safety rule or regulation, your employer is required to prove these four points:

  1. That the safety procedure was well established and that all employees were not only made aware of the rule, they were given the chance to ask questions about it.
  2. That your injury was a direct result of you disregarding the safety regulation.
  3. That you were directly told of the safety procedure in question.
  4. That the safety measure was enforced by supervisors who disciplined employees for not following procedure.

The Right to Appeal

If your workers’ compensation benefits have been cut in half under this statute, you have the right to appeal. A St. Louis workplace injury lawyer will determine if your employer was unable to meet the criteria needed to take such an action. Even if you have signed documents in the past after receiving safety training on the job, your employer will still need to prove that they enforced the regulations.

Filing an appeal is not an easy process and you will need the help of a workplace injury lawyer. Contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300. We will gather the facts of your case and investigate if it is possible for your full worker’s compensation benefits to be restored.
Updated: March 6, 2017