Contract workers are becoming more common in the California workplace. They are not just working in offices but are also being used in manufacturing settings. When contract workers suffer workplace injuries, who bears the responsibility? Is it the responsibility of the contractor's employer or the location where the employee is contracted? Such is the question in a recent California case.
An electrician working under contract for Tesla was seriously burned in an electrical explosion at Tesla's Fremont factory. The accident happened in June 2017 when the worker was thrown several feet by the explosion and became engulfed in flames. Almost a year later that gentleman is still struggling as a result of his injuries. He suffered second and third degree burns over most of his body and was in the hospital for two months.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the incident, but since the worker was a contract employee, his employer was investigated and Tesla was not. The worker's company was cited for safety violations. However, in the suit being brought by the worker, issues were found at Tesla. The contract worker, a trainee, was brought in to wire a plug. A request was made to turn off the power to that area, but the request was denied and an electrical arc occurred, initiating the explosion that injured the contract worker.
Regardless of whether a person is an employee of a company or a contractor in California, he or she has the right to safety on the job. Prevention of workplace injuries should be a consideration for contractors as well as for employees. If a worker, contract or employee, is injured on the job he or she may benefit from a confidential conversation with a workers' compensation attorney. An experienced attorney can assist a person to pursue the benefits and/or other legal recourse available.
Source: ktvu.com, "Burned contract worker sues Tesla after electrical explosion: 2 Investigates - Story", Candice Nguyen, May 21, 2018