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Suit involving 20 injured and one fatality is settled

Safety procedures are studied and enacted for a reason: safety. This is especially true in high-risk jobs like firefighting, policing and construction. Unfortunately, there will always be companies that put profit and deadlines ahead of their workers' lives. It is due to this sad reality that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regularly updates its safety guidelines and investigates employers that fail to implement them. One such employer was found to have ignored the safety guidelines and several workers paid the price.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a company known as Southern Pan removed multiple shores from the first two floors of a parking garage complex. This was in clear violation of OSHA procedures, which requires the additional support while concrete is being laid. The result was that the six-story parking garage collapsed. 20 workers were injured and one killed as a result of this decision.

OSHA then investigated and filed a lawsuit alleging that Southern Pan violated two safety procedures. After eight long years, OSHA was finally successful and a judge agreed with their assertions. A fine was levied against the company.

Although this tragedy occurred in Florida, OSHA regulations apply in every state in the country, including California, and must be adhered to by employers. But the fact is, no amount of money can make a family whole or put a permanently disabled construction worker back on his feet.

If you were injured because your boss was cutting corners or being lax with safety, you may have an actionable employment claim. You might want to sit down with an attorney and review your legal rights to determine the best course of action.

There are several avenues you could choose when your employer refuses to follow OSHA safety guidelines. You might try filing a complaint with OSHA and prompt an investigation, although if you were injured an investigation should only be a matter of time. You might try filing for workers' compensation and you could try filing a lawsuit. Regardless of the path you choose, an attorney can give you the risks and benefits of each choice to ensure that you make the best decision for you and your family.

Source: Department of Labor, "Cutting Corners in Construction Costs Lives," Dane Steffenson, Melanie Stratton, May 24, 2016

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