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Workers' compensation benefits are paid regardless of fault

The federal agency that monitors the American workplace, including in New Hampshire, is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency requires that employers follow numerous safety measures, including one that requires giving all workers personal protection equipment (PPE) that is suitable for a particular danger. This kind of protection can prevent some workplace accidents and thus reduce workers' compensation claims to some extent.

Examples of PPE are goggles, masks, gloves, ear plugs and protective gear of various other types. OSHA also requires the employer to give the worker training in using the protective material. That training can include how to wear the item, how it helps prevent injury, how it is limited, how to care for it and how to get it replaced.

A great amount of money paid in workers' compensation claims can be saved by employers when they get their workers outfitted and trained in the right protective equipment. For purposes of making a claim for workers' compensation benefits, however, remember that the compensation system is a no-fault system. Therefore, if protective gear is not used and an injury occurs, the employer must pay for the worker's benefits regardless of whether protective gear should have been worn.

In some cases, workers are known to fail to wear the equipment. There may be numerous reasons why any individual decides not to use the gear provided at work. The failure to use the equipment provided will not take the case out of workers' compensation jurisdiction. Therefore, in New Hampshire and elsewhere, the only meaningful question regarding liability is whether the worker suffered an injury at work. When there has been a work injury, wage and medical benefits typically must be paid.

Source:, "Use PPE in the Workplace and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize -- Occupational Health & Safety", Dustin Boss, June 1, 2016

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