More Than $100,000 in Fines Proposed For Company Charged With Safety Violations in Miami Workers’ Compensation Case

A Florida company recently was fined more than $100,000 after federal regulators found it had committed 18 willful and serious safety violations at its manufacturing plant.

These kinds of violations could result in a workplace injury, and often require a Miami workers’ compensation claim to help an employee who has been injured because of company negligence.

Our Miami workers’ compensation lawyers recognize that most employees don’t want to cause problems at work and would be happy simply taking some sick time and trying to heal on their own. But for major injuries, including those that require hospital stays, workers shouldn’t take that responsibility on their own. Companies spend millions of dollars each year for workers’ compensation insurance and it’s there so it can be used.

Businesses have a responsibility to keep their employees safe. But when they don’t provide safety training and require people to work in environments where they have to worry about an injury, they must be held accountable. Many workplaces, especially in the construction and manufacturing fields, aren’t correctly set up to keep workers healthy, and that’s a concern.

In Clearwater recently, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration proposed fines of $109,800 to Model Screw Products Inc., a company that allegedly committed 18 safety violations in a case where PVC piping was being used for compressed air against safety regulations.

Federal regulators allege they discovered PVC piping that was being used to transport compressed air had ruptured three times in June, and in the third instance caused an employee hearing loss and head trauma. The federal agency levied a fine of $63,000 for using PVC piping to transport compressed air. The agency said the violation was willful because it was done while intentionally violating and disregarding the requirements of the law while being indifferent to workers’ safety.

The company was also cited for nine serious violations in which it is  being fined $42,3000 for not creating lockout procedures for equipment energy sources; having two locks on an emergency exit door; permitting employees to use inappropriate gloves for work; exposing workers to metal-cutting fluids; not locking energy sources on equipment while in use; failing to train workers on how to use fire extinguishers; using a saw blade without a safety guard; not training employees on the chemicals they use; and using compressed air at more than 30 pounds per square inch.

The company was also fined $4,500 for less-serious violations that were deemed other-than-serious by the government agency. The company can appeal the fines, request a formal hearing or an informal meeting with OSHA staff to discuss the fines.

The bottom line here is that many workers were put at danger because the company allegedly tried to cut corners and break the laws that were established to keep workers safe. In one case, a worker lost hearing because of this negligence. Companies must take the proper steps to keep their workers safe. Often they don’t and that’s when Miami workers’ compensation lawyers can help the employee get the care and any monetary reimbursement to which they may be entitled.

If you are seeking legal representation from a worker’s compensation lawyer in Miami, contact Barakat Law for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305)-444-3114.

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Miami Construction Accident May Lead to Workers’ Compensation Claims: December 17, 2011

Whole Foods Market Sued By Feds For Alleged Sewage Spill That Could Lead to Miami Workers’ Compensation Claim

Whole Foods Market, a popular nationwide chain of health food grocery stores, is being sued by the government over a labor issue after a worker complained about a raw sewage spill and was fired.

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration is suing the grocery store chain for unlawfully firing the worker who complained about the incident. It happened in Miami Beach.

But what our Miami workers’ compensation lawyers want to focus on is the raw sewage spill because this can lead to a major health and injury issue for a worker. Injuries at work are almost always preventable. Typically, more stringent work policies and training can prevent injuries, especially from spills. But when injuries do occur, it’s possible that filing a Miami workers’ compensation claim could be necessary to help the employee.

According to OSHA, in this case in November 2009, the employee brought up some concerns to a supervisor that a sewer line, which had ruptured the day before, was spilling into the workplace. Among the areas affected were the specialty cheese department and restroom areas.

After supervisors did nothing to correct the potentially harmful situation, the employee called the company’s anonymous phone tip line and complained that nothing had been done to correct the situation. Three days later, the worker told another manager that the problem still hadn’t been corrected. That day, the company fired the worker with the reason being making false and malicious statements.

Having a raw sewage line rupture nearby can not only be problematic for employees, but also for customers and the quality of the food. Many people could have been put at risk.

From a workers’ compensation standpoint, spills can be dangerous. Many companies work with a variety of chemicals and liquids that not only can be flammable or poisonous, but can also create a safety issue if a person slips and falls in an area that is covered with these chemicals. A workers’ compensation claim can even arise in a normal office setting if a refrigerator is leaking, coffee is spilled or another liquid is on the floor and someone slips and is injured.

The National Safety Council provides these tips for dealing with workplace hazards:

  • Maintain a database or a data sheet chronicling all chemicals that are stored or used at a work site
  • Be sure that information is accessible to employees at all times and is translated into different languages and is understandable for all
  • Train employees on how to understand the sheets and provide training about the chemicals and their effects
  • Follow the manufacturers’ recommendations on how to handle and store the chemicals
  • Create a spill cleanup kit that is easy to access
  • Train employees on how to clean up spills and dispose of them while staying safe
  • Make sure all employees have proper protective equipment at all times

These are just some small, but important, steps that must be taken in order to try to keep employees safe. Still, accidents happen and workers get injured. Sometimes, filing a workers’ compensation claim to get help for medical bills is needed. Trust an experienced Miami workers’ compensation lawyer to help.

If you are seeking legal representation from a worker’s compensation lawyer in Miami, contact Barakat Law for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305)-444-3114.

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Miami Construction Accident May Lead to Workers’ Compensation Claims: December 17, 2011



Miami Construction Accident May Lead to Workers’ Compensation Claims

A Miami contractor was recently cited for a list of workplace safety violations after an incident involving carbon monoxide at a work site that could result in Miami workers’ compensation claims.

Companies every day are being cited by government officials because they don’t take the correct precautions to keep their workers safe — a right that every employee has. While some of us may take this for granted, those who work in construction certainly do not. General contractors who are working either to construct or rehabilitate buildings are using high-powered equipment, working at tall heights and around large cranes and other machinery than can cause severe injuries or death.

But as the news media has reported time and time again, people get injured on the job and require medical attention. If not for the aid of Miami workers’ compensation lawyers helping them navigate this complex area of law, it’s possible that people could end up going bankrupt trying to keep up with expensive medical bills.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Trans Florida Development Corp., a Miami-based company, was recently found in violation of one willful health and one serious safety violation in connection with a June incident. The company has been fined $66,990 by the government agency.

According to OSHA, a worker was using a powered saw to cut a hole into a storm drain at a job at First Street and Ocean Drive. The company was contracted to install a new drain system at the site and the employee was working with the saw when he was overexposed to carbon monoxide emitted from the saw. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Officials from OSHA said the alleged health violation was cited because the company didn’t evaluate the job site and create procedures to make sure employees weren’t exposed to toxins in a closed space. The company was fined $61,600 for that.

In the safety violation — which garnered a fine of $5,390 — the company allegedly didn’t provide training on safety hazards in confined spaces. A serious safety violation is alleged by the agency when officials believe there is the probability of serious injury or death from the hazard and the employer should have known or did know about it.

The company has two weeks to review the allegations, respond and seek a conference or contest the findings.

Safety and health violations occur every day in just about every work setting imaginable, but they typically only come out if there is an accident that causes injury or death. But that doesn’t have to be the case. If you are injured at work, you have rights. Among those rights could be the possibility of having medical bills you endure as a result of the injury paid so you don’t have to worry about taking care of them.

That said, this area of law is complex and requires an experienced lawyer who has the ability to get you any payment of which you may be entitled. Don’t attempt to handle something like this alone.

If you are seeking legal representation from a worker’s compensation lawyer in Miami, contact Barakat Law for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305)-444-3114.

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Miami Accounting Firm Sued For $7.6 Billion For Not Detecting Mortgage Fraud

Two giant lawsuits against nationally recognized accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP allege the company should pay $7.6 billion for not detective massive fraud at a Florida mortgage company despite looking through years of audits, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuits were filed by a bankruptcy trustee for the mortgage firm Taylor Bean & Whitaker and by Ocala Funding LLC, a company that bought hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of mortgages from that company. The trustee is seeking money to recover on behalf of creditors of Taylor Bean & Whitaker, the article states.

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Cybercrime, Telephone Scams are Lessons to be Learned by Miami Consumers

Cybercrime has been highly documented as it claims 1 million victims each day. These online and electronic scams cost consumers — and the corporations that are seeking to stop or prevent crimes — tens of billions of dollars each year.

People are constantly at risk, whether on their computers, cell phones or with the companies they use to store their personal information. But many people are falsely accused of committing these cybercrimes in Miami.

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