Cal/OSHA is the state agency which oversees workplace safety. Among its other duties, Cal/OSHA investigates complaints about California workplace safety and will also investigate after a serious workplace accident.
If Cal/OSHA finds violations of its safety regulations as the result of an investigation, it may impose fines or other penalties on the company which broke the rules.
A Cal/OSHA investigation might affect workers’ compensation
While it may be helpful in many other respects, the investigation and report of Cal/OSHA may not impact a San Jose resident’s workers’ compensation award. The reason is that workers’ compensation is awarded on a no-fault basis.
In other words, if a worker gets hurt on the job, he or she will usually receive benefits regardless of whether the employer or employee were negligent.
However, there are some important exceptions to this rule.
For example, a violation of Cal/OSHA’s safety standards may demonstrate that the employer was deliberately ignoring the rules, perhaps in an effort to cut costs or save time. This willful misconduct on the part of an employer entitles a victim to up to a 50% increase in their work comp benefits.
The Cal/OSHA investigation may establish the liability of third parties
Furthermore, more than one company frequently bears responsibility for workplace accidents.
For instance, in addition to a construction worker’s employer, another subcontractor, the general contractor or even the property owner or developer may be held liable in a personal injury case for a construction worker’s injury.
Unlike in workers’ comp claims, a person who has a personal injury claim may be able to recover additional damages, including damages for non-economic losses.
A citation from Cal/OSHA may go far in demonstrating that one of these parties was negligent and that the negligence caused a victim’s injury.