Man Falls in Dough Mixer, Might Get Dough from Workers' Comp - The Houston Employment Law Blog

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Man Falls in Dough Mixer, Might Get Dough from Workers' Comp

The Houston Chronicle reported that over the first weekend in June, a man employed by the B.C. Williams Bakery fell into a giant dough mixer. The man was rescued by firefighters and the Urban Search & Rescue team, who had to cut through the dough and machinery to reach the man, according to NBCDFW.

What the man was trying to do when he fell into the mixer is anyone's guess. But with any injury on the job, it raises the question of whether the man qualifies for workers' compensation and whether proper safety measures were being followed in the bakery.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OHSA, as anyone that's had a job knows it, controls the standards for safety in the workplace. OSHA usually inspects working facilities to make sure the work environment is safe, with things like emergency shut-off switches on industrial machines and guardrails protecting from employee falls. If an employee feels that a workplace is unsafe, they have the option of contacting OSHA.

Now, whether or not the workplace is compliant with OSHA standards, workers' comp insurance will cover accidents that occur on the job. However, you need to meet a few requirements before workers' comp kicks in. First, you have to be an employee of the company. Being an employee usually means that you filled out a W-2 and are a full-time salaried worker. Sorry independent contractors, you are usually out of luck. Second, you have to be working in the scope of your employment. In other words, you need to be doing your job.

Here, all that is known is that the man fell into the giant mixer. If this is true, that the man fell, then it only depends on whether the man's job required him to use or work around the mixer. If for some reason the man thought to jump in the mixer, no workers' comp for him.

It is also possible that the man is a contract worker, as many large companies employ people as contractors to save money on benefits and other expenditures required for full-time staff. If that is the case, then the man would also not have a workers' comp claim.

Regardless, if the man fell into the dough mixer through no fault of his own and he wasn't able to claim workers' comp, it is likely he could sue for other reasons as well.

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