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Earplugs may have contributed to workplace accident

Compliance with the safety regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is what is necessary for the protection of employees. It has saved the lives of many of workers nationwide. However, some safety precautions can put workers in harm's way. The description of a North Dakota man's struggle to adjust to the consequences of a workplace accident underscores this point.

Along with a colleague, the man -- now 32 years old -- performed larvicide duties in 2013 as he had done for seven previous summers. He was driving a utility task vehicle used in the control of mosquitos. To protect their ears against the roaring of the equipment, they had to wear earplugs. Unfortunately, that might have prevented them from hearing an approaching train. Their vehicle was struck and rolled over, with the driver taking the brunt of the impact.

The passenger's pelvis was broken, but the driver was less fortunate. He suffered multiple critical injuries, including brain trauma that has affected his speech and the functions of his body's right side. He struggles to walk and continues to receive several kinds of therapy. During the past two years, he managed to go back to work part time in the same industry where his employers are accommodating his restrictions. His duties will be adjusted as his condition improves.

Following any debilitating workplace accident, North Dakota victims can pursue financial assistance through the workers' compensation insurance program. Along with the normal compensation that covers medical expenses and lost wages, they may receive vocational rehabilitation to help them relearn previous skills or new skills that will accommodate their limitations. Many victims choose to get the help of an experienced workers' comp attorney to help them get the maximum allowed benefits.

Source:, "After 2013 accident, getting back to normal is still a work in progress", Pamela Knudson, June 5, 2017

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