Brad Hammock‘s OHSA Law Blog has a specific mandate: Law relating to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA). It is relevant to construction businesses nation-wide (and especially those working inter-state and on federal projects) because contractors, manufacturers and sub-trades can be caught in a regulatory mess if they don’t know the rules, especially if they have disgruntled employees seeking to play their “rights” cards.
Consider, for example, this recent posting, where Hammock describes the potentially serious liability issues if you hire undocumented workers, and they are injured on the job.
Employers are well aware that just one work-related accident or illness can result in medical expenses, rehabilitation services, and liability compensation. A recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision is a reminder that undocumented aliens, as well as legal workers, may bring workers’ compensation claims. In Moyera v. Quality Pork Int’l, 284 Neb. 963 (Jan. 4, 2013), the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act applies to undocumented aliens and these employees could be entitled to permanent total disability benefits (“PTD benefits”) for work-related injuries. Courts in other states also have found that undocumented employees are covered by their state workers’ compensation systems, including: (1) Florida, (2) Kansas, (3) Kentucky, (4) Maryland, (5) New Jersey, (6) North Carolina, (7) Ohio, (8) Oklahoma, and (9) Pennsylvania. Such liability can be avoided by carefully managing the hiring process to ensure that you do not employ aliens who are not authorized to work.
I shudder to think of the business-damaging problems you would experience an undocumented worker is hurt on the job and decides to go legal in his response.
The OHSA Law Blog should be on your bookmark list if you have health and safety responsibilities within your organization, or otherwise need to deal with regulatory authorities.