Workers in all industries in Washington state are entitled to safe work environments. Employers must ensure that all known safety hazards are addressed, and they have to protect the health and safety of employees. However, a malfunctioning or defective tool or piece of equipment can cause an unanticipated incident that might result in personal injury.
For that reason, business owners must keep an eye out for any recalls that might affect their industries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced recall by Harbor Freight of Greenwood propane torches. These torches produce flames when the propane mixes with oxygen, and they are typically used in soldering of copper water pipes, brazing, and other low-temperature welding jobs.
The propane torches were recalled due to a malfunction of the trigger that could remain engaged even when it is released. The failure to disengage can pose a burn hazard. Two incidents of such malfunctions were reported to Harbor Freight, one of which resulted in a worker suffering burn wounds.
Washington workers who suffer on-the-job injuries are typically eligible for workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, if a defective or malfunctioning tool causes an injury, there might be grounds for a third-party claim against the manufacturer, retailer and/or others in the supply chain. An attorney with experience in both workers' compensation and personal injury litigation can assess the viability of such a claim. The lawyer can navigate both claims simultaneously, with the potential financial recovery through the civil lawsuit for damages that are not covered by insurance benefits.