Fox & Fox Co. L.P.A.
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How can employer safety violations affect workers' compensation?

When workers in Ohio suffer workplace injuries, it might not have been due to an unexpected incident or the negligence of a fellow worker. There is a chance that it might have come about because of the employer violating safety requirements that were in place by law, or via mandate from the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. When there is this type of failure - known as a violation of specific safety requirement - there are certain rules the BWC has in place to handle it for the injured worker and his or her family.

If the employer commits a "VSSR," the injured worker or the loved one who is left behind after a fatality has the right to file an application for a VSSR award. There must be evidence that the violation either did or might have occurred because the employer did not adhere to the specific safety requirements. The Industrial Commission has jurisdiction over the process in which the injured worker or the dependent applies for benefits and the determination is made.

It is possible for there to be additional awards if there were violations of the specific safety requirements and the worker suffered occupational disease, injury or died because of that failure to ensure the safety of the employees. This must be filed within two years of the incident. The staff hearing officer can levy a penalty against the employer for between 15 and 50 percent of the maximum amount of workers' compensation the employee would get under the law if there was a violation of having the proper safety equipment.

There are many ways in which a worker can be injured, suffer an occupational disease or die due to an employer's failure to provide the necessary safety equipment. It can be due to toxic exposure, a crush injury and for many other reasons. This is an important part of the workers' compensation process for those who think that the employer was negligent in this manner. A legal professional experienced in workers' compensation can help with VSSR cases and being awarded the maximum amount.

Source:, "Compensation Types -- Violation of specific safety requirement (VSSR)," accessed on Nov. 27, 2017

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