Injured Carpenter Awarded $2 Million After CM Fails to Instruct Him to Wear PPE

The worst day on the job is when someone on site gets injured.  The 2nd through 500th worst days are the legal battle that follows many of those injuries.  Nobody expects accidents to happen, but it’s best to be adequately prepared if one does.  That not only includes knowing how to react to injuries with a safety plan, but also making sure your company’s documentation is in order in case lawsuits start flying.

In New Jersey, a carpenter was recently awarded $2 million after he suffered an eye injury while framing a house with a nail gun, according to  The lawsuit stated that something shot back into the victim’s left eye, causing a lacerated cornea.  As a result, the 37 year old man is “industrially blind,” and will suffer from blurry vision and impaired depth perception for the rest of his life, according to his attorney.

Even though the incident appeared to be a freak accident, the construction management company that was overseeing the job was ultimately found negligent in the case, as the jury agreed that they were ultimately responsible for instructing the workers on site to wear safety goggles. The part that I find most interesting is that the CM of the project was the entity found responsible for safety training, as opposed to the subcontractor that the victim worked for.

With the argument for personal responsibility for safety aside, OSHA regulations do require that employers train workers on required personal protective equipment (PPE), including when it’s necessary, what kind is necessary, how to properly use and wear it, the equipment’s limitations, and how to properly care for and maintain the PPE.  With specific respect to the case, OSHA regulation 1926.102(a)(1) states that “the employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g. clip-on or slide-on side shields) meeting the pertinent requirements of this section are acceptable.”

Time to schedule your next tool box talk.

Full Story: Construction worker partially blinded on the job wins $2M |