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What Workers Should Know about Repetitive Motion Injuries

What Workers Should Know about Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive motion injuries are a common problem for workers in a wide range of industries. Factory jobs can often involve doing the same action many times a day, but so can desk jobs. Doing a simple task like using a stapler, typing on a keyboard, or answering a phone too many times in a day can lead to injury. These types of injuries usually require a long process of healing, during which the affected tissues need to be rested. In serious cases, repetitive motion injuries can jeopardize someone’s ability to continue working.

Repetitive motion injury and workers’ compensation

Nevada’s workers’ compensation system provides medical payments and other benefits for employees whose injuries arise in the course and scope of employment. To be eligible for benefits, the injured worker needs to establish that the injury’s cause was work-related. Insurers will often deny claims for injuries that they determine could have been caused by something beyond the scope of the employee’s work.

This can often be a problem for people who develop repetitive motion injuries at work. Even when an employee’s work environment lends itself to the development of this kind of injury, other causes that are unrelated to work can still contribute. For example, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are linked to repetitive motion injuries. An insurer may deny a worker’s claim if it can blame the injury on an “external” cause like this.

Repetitive motion injury and disability benefits

People who suffer from repetitive motion injuries sometimes need to take a prolonged break from their ordinary work duties. In some cases, the injury can qualify as a temporary or permanent disability under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An employer cannot fire an employee solely on grounds that the employee has developed a disability or filed a workers’ compensation claim.

In many cases, an employer will offer an injured worker the option of performing light duty work until the injury has healed. Where the employer has a policy requiring injured workers to accept light duty as a condition of continued employment, the employee generally must accept. Employers adopt these policies in part to give themselves a way to terminate workers who they otherwise couldn’t, by creating conditions that force an employee to choose between an undesirable job or quitting.

Let GGRM answer your repetitive motion injury questions

For over 45 years the attorneys at the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have handled complicated workers’ compensation cases in the Las Vegas area. If you have questions about your legal options after suffering a repetitive motion injury at work, contact us for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Can Employers Be Liable for Workplace Violence?

Can Employers Be Liable for Workplace Violence?

The threat of violence has become an unfortunate part of the working world. From fistfights to sexual assault and shootings, when violence enters the workplace it can disrupt lives and hurt business. Someone who is seriously hurt in a violent incident at work should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer about the legal options for recovering compensation. One question that will come up is whether the employer bears responsibility.

Violence and the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy rule

Nevada’s workers’ compensation law imposes stark limits on when an employee can sue an employer for injuries suffered while at work. With few exceptions, so long as the employer has the mandatory workers’ compensation coverage, an employee’s only remedy for “injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment” is to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. NRS 616A.020. Generally speaking, an employee cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit against his or her employer provided that the employer has workers’ compensation insurance.

The Nevada Supreme Court has given a broad reading to the exclusive remedy rule. In Cummings v. United Resort Hotels, 85 Nev. 23 (1969), a hotel worker was murdered by a mentally ill coworker in the hotel’s employee locker room. The Court agreed with the lower court’s conclusion that the attack “arose out of” the dead worker’s employment, and therefore a workers’ compensation exclusive remedy rule barred a personal injury claim. The Court reached the same conclusion with respect to a workplace sexual assault. Wood v. Safeway, Inc., 121 Nev. 724 (2005).

What if the employer knew about a dangerous employee and didn’t take steps to remedy the problem? Even in this case, the employer likely is protected by the exclusive remedy rule. Sweeping Servs. of Tex. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 2011 Nev. Unpub. LEXIS 159 (2011). Even though the employer knew that a dangerous situation was possible, it cannot be sued.

Intentional harm provides an exception

An important exception to the exclusive remedy rule is for intentional harm committed by an employer against an employee. The key difference with this exception is that the employer “deliberately and specifically intended to injure” the employee. Conway v. Circus Casinos, Inc., 116 Nev. 870, 875 (2000). In its Conway ruling the Supreme Court took pains to clarify that the intent requirement is something more than just knowing about the possibility of injury and not doing anything to prevent it. The injured employee has to show that the employer actively wanted cause the injury.

A significant challenge in many such cases will be proving that the employer itself had the requisite intent necessary to overcome the exclusive remedy rule. The Supreme Court has allowed actions to go forward against an individual employer who physically attacked an employee. Barjesteh v. Faye’s Pub, 106 Nev. 120 (1990). It has also allowed a suit to go forward against other employees who allegedly committed intentional harm against a plaintiff. Fanders v. Riverside Resort & Casino, Inc., 126 Nev. 543 (2010).

Consult with experienced attorneys about your workplace violence claims

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in the areas of personal injury and workers compensation. Our attorneys can answer your tough questions about your legal options to respond to workplace violence. To speak to an attorney at no cost, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Homeowner Obligations Toward Utility and Mail Workers

Homeowner Obligations Toward Utility and Mail Workers

Everyone has heard stories about dogs going after postal workers. Sometimes the stories are funny, but more often they end with the worker suffering a serious bite. Nevada law imposes some basic requirements on homeowners to keep their properties safe for people who might visit while the homeowner is away: postal workers or inspectors from the local gas or electrical utility being just two examples.

Delivery and utility workers usually aren’t trespassing

In Nevada, homeowners have a general duty of care to keep their properties reasonably safe for lawful visitors. Nevada law provides that homeowners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers other than children in some situations, or where the trespasser is known to be in a dangerous location. It is also unlawful for homeowners to intentionally create dangerous conditions designed to hurt a trespasser. NRS 41.515.

Generally speaking, people delivering packages and mail to a home and people who come to a home in connection with utility work are not trespassing. The specific reason why varies. Absent a “No Trespassing” sign any visitor has an implied license to approach the front door of a home to speak to the occupant or leave a package there. U.S. Post Office rules specifically allow mail carriers to cross private property as part of their delivery duties. Utility workers, who often need to access to side or back of a home to check meters or repair equipment, typically receive express permission to enter through local laws or service agreements.

There can be exceptions to these general rules. For example, a utility worker might not be allowed to jump over a locked fence or break a chain just to check a meter. A mail carrier’s implied license probably doesn’t allow for packages to be carried around the side of a home or through a closed gate, whether or not it’s locked, unless they have a reasonable purpose for doing so. For example, a deliverer might want to leave a package safely out of sight so it doesn’t get stolen.

Ways a homeowner can keep a home “reasonably safe”

Because a homeowner won’t necessarily be at home when a delivery is made or a utility inspection is made, it’s important to take steps to make the property safe. Here are a few examples:

  • Ensure that the approach to the front door is free of hazards. Although a homeowner doesn’t need to constantly inspect for new dangers, care should be taken to address known risks. If a front step is dangerously loose, repairing it or at least putting out a warning sign might be necessary. If the front walk is icy, it might be necessary to shovel or salt it.
  • Warn about unleashed dogs. A homeowner is allowed to keep a dog off leash provided the dog is otherwise contained, such as with a fence. By posting “Beware of Dog” signs, the owner places visitors on notice that a dog is present and may pose a danger. Many utility inspectors carry mace to protect themselves from surprise dog attacks, so warning the worker also protects the dog.
  • Make sure dangerous conditions are easy to see. A homeowner who has created an unusually dangerous condition, such as a deep trench or exposed electrical work, needs to be especially mindful of the potential risks it poses to visitors. Posting warning signs, using yellow “caution” tape, or ensuring that the dangerous condition is well covered can be ways to reduce the risk to visitors.

GGRM can answer your questions

For over 45 years the lawyers at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have served the Las Vegas community. We understand the legal risks homeowners face and are here to answer questions about how those risks can be managed. For a free attorney consultation call us at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.

The State of Mesothelioma Litigation in 2018

The State of Mesothelioma Litigation in 2018

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has characteristics useful for a wide range of things, including the construction of fire-resistant materials. But it also is highly toxic to human health, with mesothelioma being one of the potential side effects of exposure. As a result, asbestos is no longer used in most construction materials in the United States. But it continues to show up in other products, and people continue to be exposed to older materials that contain it. Therefore, although the danger of asbestos is well understood, litigation related to mesothelioma continues to crop up.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Amchem Prods. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591 (1997), mesothelioma litigation has been handled on an individual basis, rather than following the class action approach that had dominated earlier asbestos-related litigation. For individuals suffering from mesothelioma, the loss of the class action option has reopened the possibility of controlling one’s own case, tailored to the specific circumstances, and with due consideration of all the plaintiff’s needs. A successful individual case can also result in a higher damages award than what might have been available in the class action context.

Baby powder and mesothelioma

In recent years household products maker Johnson & Johnson has faced litigation by mesothelioma sufferers who claim that Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder (or baby powder) products contain traces of asbestos. In November 2017 a California court found J&J not liable for the plaintiff’s cancer, but other cases have gone the other way, with total damages in excess of $700 million over the last two years.

The California case offers interesting insight into the ways a defendant can undermine a plaintiff’s mesothelioma case. The question of causation often rests at the heart of cases involving cancer. To prevail, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s wrongful action—in these cases, something that exposed the plaintiff to the carcinogenic toxin—was the cause of the plaintiff’s disease. Meanwhile, the defense will spare no expense looking for alternative causes of the disease in order to cast doubt on the plaintiff’s case. In the California case, J&J focused on radiation treatments the plaintiff had previously received, as well as the likelihood that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos on her father’s work clothing.

Plaintiffs in mesothelioma cases can expect the defense to take a literal microscope to their lives in hopes of finding potential alternative causes for the plaintiff’s cancer. One of the many reasons to seek out personalized legal representation, instead of working with an impersonal “litigation shop” firm, is to ensure that intrusions into the plaintiff’s personal affairs are minimized and handled in a thoughtful way.

Firefighters and mesothelioma

Another topic GGRM continues to monitor is the high rate of cancer among our firefighters. Firefighters face a high risk of uncontrolled exposure to asbestos in burning buildings. During the course of a fire a wall or ceiling might need to be demolished by hand, unleashing asbestos fibers into the air. Nevada law provides specific rules for when a firefighter’s cancer is covered under the state’s worker’s compensation system. NRS 617.453.

Firefighters should know that the statute provides a specific list of chemicals and related cancers that will be covered, but asbestos exposure is not one of them. Although the list provided in the law is not exclusive, the burden will fall upon a firefighter to show that his or her mesothelioma is related to on-the-job exposure to asbestos.

GGRM can answer your mesothelioma questions

The attorneys at the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez are proud of the close relationships we have with our clients. When a cancer like mesothelioma threatens to take away so much, it’s important to have caring counsel in your corner. If you are trying to make sense of your legal options we would be happy to answer your questions about mesothelioma litigation. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476 or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.

Thomas W. Askeroth

Thomas W. Askeroth

Tom is a Las Vegas native and graduated from UNLV in 2006, magna cum laude. He received his Juris Doctorate from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He specializes in personal injury litigation and workers compensation claims. Tom was admitted to the bar in 2009. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, hiking at Red Rock, coaching his daughter’s soccer team, playing on his own soccer team, golfing, and traveling with his family.

Filing Lawsuits Against Out-of-State Defendants in Nevada

Filing Lawsuits Against Out-of-State Defendants in Nevada

Tens of millions of visitors come to Las Vegas each year, many of whom come from other states. Accidents involving out-of-town visitors raise questions about how someone who lives in Las Vegas might file a lawsuit against someone in another state. Before a court can hear a case against someone it must have jurisdiction over that person. By default, each state’s courts have personal jurisdiction over the residents of their states. But establishing personal jurisdiction over someone who does not reside in the state requires a more nuanced analysis.

The service of process requirement

Nevada’s courts follow federal due process rules for establishing personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants. NRS 14.065. The first thing to understand about personal jurisdiction is that it requires delivery of service of process on the defendant. Service of process simply means that the defendant in the lawsuit is provided with a summons and a copy of the plaintiff’s complaint so the defendant will have an opportunity to respond.

Personal service of process requires giving the summons and complaint to the defendant personally, leaving them at the defendant’s home “with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein,” or by giving them to the defendant’s authorized agent (typically, a lawyer). Nev. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(6). Complying with this requirement can be harder than it sounds, because many defendants avoid being served with process or are hard to track down. Nevada law provides that a defendant who hides behind a locked gate can be served by mail with court approval, but generally speaking service can’t be completed by mail. NRS 14.090. Serving process on an out-of-state defendant often requires hiring a professional process server located where the defendant resides.

Car crashes and personal jurisdiction

Nevada law provides an exception for people involved in car crashes. Nevada law deems anyone who drives in the state to have appointed the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles as his or her attorney for purposes of serving process. In these cases the plaintiff need only submit a copy of the summons and complaint, along with a $5 fee, to the DMV, with a copy sent by mail to the defendant’s address as provided at the time of the accident. NRS 14.070.

Establishing specific jurisdiction over an individual

Serving process on a defendant isn’t enough to establish a court’s personal jurisdiction. Three things must be true for a Nevada court to exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state individual:

  1. The out-of-state defendant must have purposefully directed his or her activities or consummated some transaction with a Nevada resident, or otherwise “purposefully avail himself of the privilege of conducting activities” in Nevada, “thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.”
  2. The plaintiff’s claim must arise from the defendant’s activities that are related to Nevada.
  3. Exercising jurisdiction must “comport with fair play and substantial justice.”

Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1016 (9th Cir. 2008).

The plaintiff is responsible for showing the first two prongs are true, while the defendant can argue that the fairness standard of the third prong makes exercise of personal jurisdiction inappropriate.

Most cases where personal jurisdiction is tricky involve defendants who have never physically stepped foot in the jurisdiction. For personal injury cases where the defendant who is allegedly liable for hurting the plaintiff, it can be enough that the defendant caused the injury while in Nevada. Of course, if the injury took place outside of Nevada, establishing personal jurisdiction may be more difficult, because the defendant has not “directed activities” at Nevada. In those cases, filing a lawsuit in the jurisdiction where the defendant lives, or where the accident took place, may be necessary.

Let GGRM help you sort through jurisdiction questions

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover for personal injuries. If you have been injured by an out-of-state individual, our attorneys can help you sort through your options. Call us today for a free consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.

Do Outdoor Pools and Spas Need to be Covered?

Do Outdoor Pools and Spas Need to be Covered?

Homeowners often leave their pools uncovered and their spas unlocked. But leaving a pool or spa accessible and unattended can in some circumstances create a dangerous situation., especially for children. When a child sneaks onto a property to use a pool or spa and drowns or suffers other serious injury, a homeowner may be liable for the resulting damages under a legal theory called attractive nuisance.

The elements of attractive nuisance in Nevada

Landowners owe a general duty of care to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition for guests. This rule doesn’t apply to most trespassers, on the grounds that the trespasser is acting unlawfully and the landowner cannot take steps to protect someone who is on the property without the landowner’s knowledge.

The doctrine of attractive nuisance is an exception to the trespasser rule. Attractive nuisance applies in situations where a dangerous feature of a property is the sort of thing that a child could reasonably be expected to take an interest in. Even though a child may be trespassing to gain access to the feature, the doctrine makes the landowner liable for a child trespasser’s injuries because the landowner did not anticipate that a child might be attracted to the feature and did not take steps to secure it.

Secure your pool or spa

Pools and spas are textbook examples of attractive nuisance. They offer fun and relief from the Nevada heat. But they also present a serious danger of drowning. As such, a homeowner needs to take steps to ensure that a pool or spa is inaccessible to potential child trespassers. This might include surrounding them with a fence with a locking gate or using locking covers. Homeowners should be wary about fences that a child could easily climb over; bear in mind that children are resourceful and likely to take a few risks to get access to a pool.

Consequences for creating attractive nuisance

The consequences of not making an attractive nuisance secure can be substantial. When a child has an accident in a pool and dies or suffers serious injury like brain damage, the homeowner can be responsible for medical bills and the suffering of the child and his or her family. Most homeowner insurance policies require pools and spas to be made inaccessible in order to take the insurer off the hook in attractive nuisance cases. In other words, the homeowner likely will be personally responsible for paying the hurt child’s damages.

For over 45 years, the lawyers at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have helped injured clients in the Las Vegas area protect their legal rights and get the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about how an uncovered pool or spa may expose you to risk, or if your child has been hurt in a neighbor’s pool and you’re wondering what your legal options are, our attorneys are happy to provide a no-cost consultation. Reach out to us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

What to Do if You’re Injured in a Skiing Accident

What to Do if You're Injured in a Skiing Accident

Snow sports are fun, but they’re not without risks. An accident on the slopes can cause serious injuries. Medical bills, lost work time, and painful rehabilitation can follow. When it’s not just your fault, but someone else causes your injuries, a lawsuit may be necessary to protect your financial future.

Sharing information after a skiing accident

Besides getting emergency medical attention, someone who is injured by another skier needs to be sure to get the other person’s name and contact information. Nevada’s skiing and snowboarding law requires anyone who is involved in a collision that involves an injury to provide the injured person, the operator of the ski resort, or a member of the ski patrol with his or her name and current address. NRS 455A.170(2). This information must be provided at the scene, or as soon as practical afterward if the reporting person needs to leave the scene to get help for the injured person. Someone who doesn’t share information is guilty of a misdemeanor. Our neighbors in California have a similar rule.

Determining liability

Like other personal injury cases, a skiing accident often will rest on the question of negligence. Each accident is different and liability will depend on facts. In some cases negligence will be easier to show than in others.

There are two important defenses that likely will come up in a skiing accident case. The first is assumption of risk. Snowboarders and skiers understand that there are risks involved with their sport, including the possibility of running into another person on the slope. The question of assumption of risk may come down to whether the injured person knew that he or she was at risk of being hurt. For example, someone who stays at the landing spot of a popular jump should know the risk of being hit.

The other important defense is contributory negligence. This defense might apply where a plaintiff wasn’t paying enough attention at the time of the accident, or made a bad decision that made it difficult for the defendant to avoid the collision. Under Nevada’s modified comparative negligence rule, plaintiffs who contributed to the accident will have their recovery reduced by the their percentage of the overall fault. If the plaintiff is found to have been more than 50% at fault for the accident, he or she cannot recover any damages. NRS 41.141.

Nevada requires certain behavior by skiers and snowboarders

Establishing that someone acted negligently can be easier if the defendant’s negligence was also a violation of a statute or regulation. Nevada law provides several specific rules designed to prevent accidents. Skiers and snowboarders are required to avoid others while entering a run or starting from a stopped position. NRS 455A.110(4). They are also required to keep a “proper lookout” and, to the best of their ability, control their speed to avoid others. NRS 455A.110(5). The law also requires skiers to conduct themselves “in such a manner as to avoid injury to persons and property.” NRS 455A.110(6). Skiing or snowboarding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. NRS 455A.170(1).

The language of these rules leaves plenty of room for legal argument. For example, the proviso in NRS 455A.110(5) that skiers must control their speed “to the best of their ability” gives leeway to relatively inexperienced people who may not have the skill necessary to stop themselves. In cases where the statute appears to provide an excuse, the injured plaintiff might need to fall back on a conventional negligence argument. Fortunately, a personal injury case can pursue both theories.

GGRM can help

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured clients in the Las Vegas area get the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about your legal options after a skiing or snowboarding accident, our attorneys will be happy to review your case. For a free consultation, reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contacts page.

Opioid Use and Nevada Workers’ Comp Claims

Opioid Use and Nevada Workers' Comp Claims

Opioids are a group of drugs that includes legal painkilling medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone as well as illegal drugs like heroin. Although opioids offer effective treatment for pain, their use can lead to dependency. Illegal use of prescription opioids has become a serious problem throughout the country. Workers who suffer injuries on the job may have questions about how Nevada’s workers’ compensation law treats opioid use.

Workers’ compensation coverage and drug use

Like other drugs or alcohol, opioids may impair judgment and physical reaction times. Under Nevada’s workers’ compensation law, an insurer can deny an injured worker benefits if the worker was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the injury, unless the worker can show that being under the influence was not the proximate cause of the injury. NRS 616C.230(1)(d). The legal definition of “under the influence” for opioids varies depending on the substance involved, but follows the same standards as police use to determine if a driver was driving while intoxicated.

A worker who does not have a valid prescription for opioids therefore risks loss of workers’ compensation coverage. Because opioids can cause occupational impairment, a user may be more likely to suffer injury. Loss of coverage is just one more risk a user assumes by continuing to abuse opioids. The best course is always to seek help with overcoming drug dependencies. Many employers offer anonymous employee assistance programs to help their workers stay healthy.

Prescription medications and disability

Nevada workers’ compensation law makes an exception for workers with lawful prescriptions for controlled substances, including opioids. NRS 616C.230(1)(d). An insurer cannot base a denied claim solely on the fact that someone is taking prescription medication.

Workers who are currently taking prescription opioids to manage pain for a condition also may qualify for the legal protections extended to disabled individuals. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer must provide a disabled employee with reasonable accommodations to account for his or her disability. In Nevada a disabled person cannot be fired solely for taking prescription medication to treat a disability. For workers who take prescription opioids to treat job-related injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation, an employer may need to offer light duty work.

Talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you have questions

If you have questions about how opioid use may affect your ability to claim workers’ compensation benefits, the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez are here to help. We have served the Las Vegas working community for more than 45 years and have extensive experience dealing with tricky workers’ comp issues. For a free consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.

Workplace Injury Protections for Agricultural Laborers

Workplace Injury Protections for Agricultural Laborers

Nevada law excludes farm workers, including people in dairy, stock, and poultry industries, from the state’s mandatory workers’ compensation system. NRS 616A.110(4). This means that farm workers do not enjoy automatic, no-fault protection in the event they are injured on the job. But agricultural work is one of the most dangerous professions in the country, leading to questions about how an injured worker can recover compensation.

Personal injury lawsuits against agricultural employers

A major benefit for employers in the workers’ compensation system is that it provides the exclusive remedy for employees who are injured at work. Because farm laborers are outside the system, they are not limited by the exclusivity clause, meaning they can potentially file a personal injury lawsuit. If a worker is killed, his or her family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.

A personal injury lawsuit likely will hinge on whether the employer acted negligently. To be actionable, the negligent behavior must have violated a legal duty owed to the worker and needs to have been the legal (or proximate) cause of the worker’s injury. The kinds of legal duties that can support a negligence claim vary based on the facts of the situation. For example, an employer that also owns or manages the property where the work is conducted may owe its workers an obligation to keep the premises reasonably safe. Where a given job involves known risks, an employer should be taking reasonable steps to manage those risks.

There are at least two significant problems for farm workers who wish to pursue a personal injury claim. The first is that lawsuits take time. Until a case settles or gets decided in court, the worker bears all the costs of treatment for the injury. The second problem is that plenty of injuries in agricultural work happen not because of negligence but simply because the work itself is dangerous. A ladder tipping over or a cow’s kick may be independent of any action on the part of the employer. In each case, having the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable.

OSHA and agriculture

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. 15 et seq., requires every employer in the United States with at least 15 employees to ensure that the work environment is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to [their] employees.” 29 U.S.C. 654. This so-called “general duty clause” requires employers to take reasonable steps to address hazardous conditions. These steps might include providing appropriate safety equipment and training, ensuring that machinery is properly maintained, and making sure that dangers like deep holes or exposed electrical wires are not left unmarked.

In addition to the general duty clause, a number of specific OSHA standards apply to agricultural operations. For example, employers with 11 or more hand-laborers in the field must provide toilets, potable drinking water, and hand washing facilities in the field at no cost to the workers. There are also special rules governing roll-over bars on tractors.

An employer who fails to comply with OSHA requirements can be subject to administrative fines by state and federal enforcement agencies. The law protects workers who bring complaints against retaliation by employers. Unfortunately, OSHA does not provide a private cause of action, meaning a worker cannot directly sue an employer for violating OSHA standards. Crane v. Conoco, Inc., 41 F.3d 547, 553 (9th Cir. 1994).

GGRM is here to answer your questions

The personal injury attorneys at GGRM have served the Las Vegas community for over 45 years. If you have questions about legal options following an injury at work, our attorneys will be happy to answer your questions. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

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