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New Jersey company cited after 2 workers' hands are crushed

Even if you've never heard of the exclusive remedy doctrine, you're already adhering to the legal provision by working for a Bergen County employer. The American Bar Association says the doctrine is part of the deal employees make to receive workers' compensation benefits following an occupational illness or injury. Companies agree to provide insurance benefits because workers agree not to sue them for liability.

You wouldn't throw lit matches around a house, simply because you have homeowners' insurance to cover damages. The same is true in a New Jersey workplace -- employers cannot disregard employee safety because accidents are covered by workers' compensation. Unfortunately, even with the threat of federal financial penalties for workplace violations, some companies make safety a low priority.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently recommended more than $185,000 in penalties for a Totowa fabric maker. This isn't the first time the company has been in trouble with federal safety regulators. The same violations that caused two disabling manufacturing accidents since September were present in 2011, the last time Precision Custom Coatings LLC was cited.

OSHA was notified of an accident at Precision in September, after a Garfield worker's arm became trapped between two active rollers while he fed fabric into a machine. The worker's hand was crushed. Four months after the federal investigation began, another machinery accident took place.

In January, a maintenance employee's fingers were caught in a machine at the fabric company. The accident mutilated and partially amputated four of the worker's fingers. Reports didn't update the employees' conditions or say when or if the men could return to work.

Precision received 14 citations for failure to provide adequate machine guards and warnings to protect employees from harm. Attorneys make sure injured workers recover as much compensation as possible after an on-the-job accident, whether the source is workers' compensation or a third-party liability claim.

Source: The Record, "Totowa fabric company Precision Custom Coatings LLC cited for serious workplace violations" Andrew Wyrich, Apr. 08, 2014

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