Schemery Zicolello

Pennsylvania employee injured in workplace fire

Individual who work around hazardous equipment are often vulnerable to serious workplace accidents. Due to the high rate of workplace accidents, legislators across the country worked together to enact the modern workers' compensation system. The program was designed to compensate workers injured on the job while they recuperate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the agency tasked with supervising job injury and worker safety.

Take, for instance, a recent workplace accident. According to news reports, an employee at a natural gas compression station in Bradford County, Pennsylvania was injured in a fire the other week. The compression station, which is owned by Southwestern Energy, is where gas lines feed together and are then pumped into distribution lines. According to the Herrickville Fire Chief, the fire did not spread beyond the station. Although the worker was burned, the Chief said that the burns did not appear serious.

Workers compensation is a system of laws that outline the benefits work accident victims are entitled and the procedures for obtaining them. In most states, employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance. These laws are important protections for workers because they allow employees to receive compensation for the injuries without having to go through litigation. The system, however, provides many benefits to the employer as well.

The primary benefit to employers is that workers compensation is effectively a no-fault system that protects the employer from being sued. In some cases, however, an employee can forego the workers compensation system and sue their employer. These cases include intentional torts or any injury cause by intentional behavior. Employees are also free to litigate their claims for non-physical injuries such as discrimination or emotional distress.

Source: WETM, "One Injured After Gas Compression Station Fire," Jeff Stone and Bobby Brooks, March 19, 2013

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