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Finger Amputation Leads to Florida Accident at Work Claim, Federal Fines

A manufacturer involved in a Florida accident at work claim is now also facing nearly $400,000 in fines, with federal work safety officials alleging the company failed to protect its employees from this type of work-related accident. 

Like many on-the-job amputation injuries in Florida, this one involved lack of machine guarding. While amputations can potentially occur in any type of job site, those at manufacturing plants like this one in Hialeah tend to be much higher. Most who file a Florida accident at work claim for an amputation have lost a finger.

Valuation of Florida Accident at Work Claim for Finger Amputation

While loss of a finger is certainly survivable and may not be as life-altering as, say, the loss of an arm or leg, the reality is finger amputation due to an accident at work claim can have a profound impact on your life. As our Plantation workers’ compensation lawyers have seen, amputations of thumbs tend to result in a greater degree of disability than the loss of other fingers. Unfortunately, as noted by a study published in The Journal of Hand Surgery, the American Medical Association’s Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment don’t accurately score functional disability and health-related quality of life after traumatic finger amputations, tending to underestimate the impact the loss has on one’s ability to continue to work and enjoy life.

Another analysis by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalists at ProPublica revealed Florida pays much less than the national average for an accident at work claim resulting from a finger amputation. To give an indication:

  • Loss of Thumb – national average workers’ compensation $42,432, compared to Florida, $42,311
  • Loss of Index Finger – national average workers’ compensation $24,474, compared to Florida, $14,525
  • Loss of Middle Finger – national average workers’ compensation $20,996, compared to Florida, $14,525
  • Loss of Ring Finger – national average workers’ compensation $14,660, compared to Florida, $6,315
  • Loss of Pinky Finger – national average workers’ compensation $11,343, compared to Florida, $6,315

It’s not clear exactly how much was paid for the Florida accident at work claim made in Hialeah, though it’s likely the federal fines will be reduced (as is usually the case with such fines).

South Florida Work Accident Causes Worker Finger Amputation

According to The Herald Tribune, factory hazards that caused the work injury involved an unguarded punch press at the site, where the manufacturer makes impact doors and windows. According to the local OSHA field office director, the company knowingly disregarded machine guarding requirements and industry standards for such work.

The manufacturer is a sizable employer, with more than 500 workers at the Hialeah plant and another 2,000 in Sarasota County.

In addition to failing to properly machine guard several pieces of equipment, OSHA also cited the employer for failure to implement a program that would inspect mechanical power presses and correct unsafe conditions. The company is also accused of not developing specific procedures to verify control of hazardous energy. On top of all that, supervisors didn’t make sure workers had proper hearing protection and were safe from electrical hazards, nor did they report work-related injuries and illnesses within one week, as required by law.

It should be noted that while these failures constitute a breach of an employer’s duty to provide a safe work environment for employees, it is not necessary to prove fault when it comes to a Florida work accident claim. One need only show the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment.

If you have questions about how to file an accident at work claim, contact our experienced Plantation workers’ compensation attorneys today.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, Miami, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Plantation.

Additional Resources:

OSHA fines PGT after worker accident at plant, Nov. 23, 2018, By John Hielscher, The Herald Tribune

More Blog Entries:

Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Determine the Value of Your Claim, Nov. 19, 2018, Florida Work Accident Claim Attorney in Miami Blog

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