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What impact could a manager’s lie have on workers’ compensation?

Most North Carolina companies and the people who work for them ensure that they do everything within their control to keep employees safe on the job. Unfortunately, there are those who may not hold themselves to that standard and may even go so far as to lie about working conditions, possibly resulting in harm to workers. Recently, a manager at a meat packing plant was the center of controversy after admitting that he misled federal regulators who were investigating the levels of toxic chemicals at the plant. Not only may his lie have harmed workers and the wider community around the plant, but this sort of negligence may have an impact upon an employee’s workers’ compensation claim.

The manager entered a guilty plea to charges that he hid his knowledge regarding the commission of a felony. The meat packing plant was apparently using a refrigeration unit that had high levels of a toxic chemical called anhydrous ammonia. This violates regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Association. The chemical is indeed often used in the refrigeration systems of companies like this one, but the amount this one had could have caused blindness, burns and even death to those exposed.

OSHA uncovered other safety violations at the plant and said that the company should have had a specified safety program to deal with accidental exposure. The cost of this type of program is around $20,000, so the company allegedly falsified documentation saying the program was in place. The manager admitted to knowingly giving that document to OSHA. He could be sentenced to three years in prison for this offense.

It is not clear whether any employees at the plant actually experienced any harm from the chemical. However, this would be a viable reason to file for workers’ compensation. Such a claim may be necessary as a worker deals with the effects of any illness or injury, including missed income or hospital expenses. Any North Carolina employees who want more information on these types of legal claims may want to speak with an attorney experienced in this area of the law.