Monday, May 2, 2011

Violation of OSHA or ANSI evidence of negligence in PA

Pennsylvania allows for OSHA and ANSI to protect workers at work AND in the courtroom. Pennsylvania allows courts to adopt, as the standard of conduct expected of a reasonable person or company, the requirements of a legislative enactment or an administrative regulation i.e. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) regulations or ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards. The purpose of OSHA and ANSI is to protect the working class from dangerous work places practices. Thus, in Pennsylvania, the relevant OSHA or ANSI laws or regulations are to be admitted in court to establish duty of care expected of a company and breach of that duty as evidence of negligence. Christiansen v. Silfies, 667 A.2d 396 (Pa. Super. 1995).

This is critical in any type of non-workers compensation work place injury lawsuit. If you can point to a specific OSHA or ANSI requirement and show how a company or corporation broke that rule your case is that much stronger.

I recently relied on various OSHA standards to strengthen my client's case. The OSHA regs related to a company's obligation to provide and enforce the wearing of hard hats in a case in which my client was struck on the head by a piece of metal tubing. When I pointed out to defense counsel that we intended to rely on specific OSHA regulations that governed his client's work place practices we quickly reached an amicable settlement. One reason for this is that juries, like all of us, like simple rules- forget legal mumbo jumbo. Defense attorneys love to complicate rules and laws to jurors to make it difficult for them to determine whether the defendant should really be held responsible for a plaintiff's injuries. But when there are clear rules like OSHA and ANSI, the jury knows exactly what to do and is more likely to find in favor of the injured worker. Share this post :
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