Compliance before Defense
State ex rel. Glunt Industries v. Indus.Comm., Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-215
Claimant, Hamrick was injured when a main breaker cabinet housing two separate breakers exploded. He was ordered by his supervisor to investigate the main breaker. He filed a VSSR alleging that the employer had violated Ohio Adm. Code 4123:1-5-23 which requires that “unless the electrical conductors or equipment to be worked on are isolated from all possible sources of voltage or are effectively grounded, the employer shall provide protective equipment approved for the voltage involved, such as rubber gloves with protectors, rubber sleeves, hot line tools, line house, line guards, insulator hoods, blankets and access boards.”
Glunt, the employer admitted that with the possible exception of safety gloves it had not provided Hamrick the safety equipment required. It claimed that the company policy prohibited an employee from working on the “equipment,” the main breaker cabinet.
The defense of unilateral negligence only applies when first the employer has satisfied the applicable safety requirement. VSSR defenses require significant investigation and preparation and while only a small percentage only make it to the hearing stage, it is imperative that you retain counsel to prepare your defense as early as possible.