Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, ABC Construction Inc.* is a residential remodeling contractor and operates a high-end cabinet shop.
* To protect the privacy of our client, we are using a fictitious name, ABC Construction Inc. to represent the client.
A long-term employee of ABC Construction Inc. accidentally cut off two fingers on his left hand while using a saw in the cabinet shop.
ABC Construction Inc. followed protocol and established procedures and handled the emergency situation immediately. After taking care of the employee, the company called us. We assessed the situation and advised the client to report the accident to the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) right away so they would not incur a steep fine for specifically not reporting the accident.
After reporting the accident, OSHA came out and investigated the situation and determined the accident was very serious and did indeed warrant a steep fine. The owner of ABC Construction Inc. reached out to us for guidance on how to navigate through this very difficult situation. Fighting OSHA is a sizable challenge and requires knowledge and expertise.
ABC Construction Inc. is a well-established builder and solar-powered cabinet shop serving the San Francisco Bay area for many years. The company has built a reputation for quality services and workmanship, and has been extensively covered in local, national media and construction web review sites.
A situation like this where a long-term employee was injured on the job had never occurred in our client’s history. After assisting the employee through hospitalization and several surgeries, ABC Construction Inc. had to address the ramifications of the injury.
One major challenge facing the staff at ABC Construction Inc. was they had little experience dealing with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There were legal, compliance and regulation considerations that had to be addressed.
ABC Construction Inc.’s founder and CEO said of the situation, “We were committed to doing the right thing to take care of our staff, and wanted a partner who would see us through this difficult situation.”
In a situation like ABC Construction Inc.’s, there were many things to consider:
At DHW we have deep experience working with companies on workman’s compensation claims. Our staff understand its rules and regulations and are current on the latest changes. The first thing we had to do was assess the situation thoroughly and review all aspects of the case. Next we needed to expand our expertise by bringing in knowledgeable people who were experienced dealing with OSHA. Their focus was to prepare a detailed argument with specific details explaining why our client was not negligent.
For example, we showed that all employees had been trained and received written documentation for safe usage of tools and equipment. All documentation on workplace safety is updated every 12 months.
It was important to be prepared and know how to present our argument which helped us reach a successful outcome. We invested the most time discussing and researching different avenues in private with our client, prior to their meeting with OSHA. Our goal was to guide ABC Construction Inc. through all the requisite steps and provide the best support to protect its business.
We then arranged a meeting with OSHA to present our case.
Our meeting with OSHA had a favorable outcome for ABC Construction Inc. and further reiterated DHW’s ability to guide its client through a complex claim process. We were able to present a case that altered the violation from a serious to a general violation and reduced fines for ABC Construction Inc. by 85%. Most significantly, our client felt he had a partner through the whole process.
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