A man who was identified as a temporary employee for Dura-Bond Industries in Pennsylvania was injured in a workplace accident when, according to police, a large steel pipe hit him in the back. Workers were moving the pipes at the Duquesne facility a little after 8 a.m. on Jan. 13 when one came loose and reportedly fell on the man. According to both police and fire officials, a previous accident involving a pipe occurred at the same facility.

The worker was pinned face-first to the ground by the pipe, though other workers quickly lifted it off of him. The injured worker was transported to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy with life-threatening injuries. According to his mother, he suffered three broken ribs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that it will investigate the injury but would not confirm a prior accident. According to OSHA rules, companies are required to report incidents that involve injuries to 3 or more people or a fatality.

OSHA requires that employers maintain safe workplaces. It establishes and enforces standards that are meant to help workers avoid suffering serious injuries. Employers and staffing agencies that provide a temporary workforce share responsibility for worker safety, which includes providing training courses aimed at workplace hazards and adequate record keeping. Temporary workers often do hazardous work while, at the same time, lacking sufficient training when compared to other employees. This combination could put a temporary employee at increased risk.

Workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania are meant to cover all workers who are injured on the job, whether the injuries are permanent or temporary. Sometimes, a regular claim will not provide all of the coverage that an injured worker needs. At these times, especially if the injury was caused by employer negligence, it may be possible for a worker to decline workers’ compensation benefits and instead file a lawsuit against the employer for a larger settlement.

Source: CBS Pittsburgh, “Man Severely Injured By Large Pipe“, Trina Orlando, January 13, 2014