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Tennessee manager concealed worker injuries

Tennessee has a sizable manufacturing industry, employing workers in plants that produce products ranging from automobiles, processed foods, and chemicals such as paints, pharmaceuticals or industrial products. Workers in those industries may perform difficult jobs.

Fortunately, many take peace of mind in the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act, a state law that provides certain workplace protections. The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has enforcement authority of the law, ensuring that employers are held accountable for unsafe workplaces and provide compensation for lost wages to employees who are injured on the job.

However, not all work-related injuries may be resolved by a workers' compensation claim. For example, if a third party's negligence contributed to a workplace accident, that individual or entity might be held accountable in a personal injury lawsuit. In other cases, a supervisor or manager may not honestly report workplace injuries. A jury might interpret such behavior as recklessly or intentionally ignoring known safety hazards, resulting in similar personal injury liability or potential premises liability.

Today's story involves such a scenario. A Tennessee safety manager for a construction contractor was recently found guilty of concealing over 80 on-the-job injuries over a two-year period at several nuclear facilities operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. He was sentenced to a prison term of six and one-half years, as well as a two-year term of supervised release. Several employees testified about how the manager's behavior denied or delayed their medical treatment. The man's incentive to lie may have been a reported $2.5 million that the company wrongfully collected in safety bonuses.

Source: nola.com, "Shaw Group safety manager who lied about worker injuries at Tenn. nuclear plants sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison," April 12, 2013

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