Feeling unsafe at work?
Our law firm has fought for workplace safety for all Montanans for over 75 years.
Every worker deserves to go home at the end of the day to their families, safe and unhurt. Unfortunately, Montana has one of the highest workplace injury rates in the country, resulting in high numbers of short-term and long-term injuries, permanent impairment and even death. These injuries and fatalities happen to Montanans across all age groups, genders, and professions — from mining and logging to the retail and service industries.
A workplace injury caused by an unsafe working environment not only impacts the individual who is harmed, but also their co-workers, family and friends.
Higher workplace injury rates also drag down local businesses and the state economy through lost productivity as well as having to hire and train replacement workers. But above all, an unsafe workplace can devastate Montana families, both personally and financially.
At Murphy Law Firm, our workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to seeking justice for individuals who have been hurt on the job—or the families of fatally wounded workers. We can help you determine who was responsible and help you file an unsafe workplace lawsuit to collect maximum compensation for your damages. We work tirelessly for every client to ensure they receive maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Why hire Murphy Law Firm?
- We put our clients first
- We ONLY represent the injured
- Compassionate, aggressive and personal legal representation
- Licensed attorneys with extensive legal knowledge
- 75+ years of combined experience
- We’ve recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients
- Contingency fee (you don’t pay unless we win)
- Free consultation
Attorney Thomas J. Murphy
Founder of Murphy Law Firm
You deserve better. Don’t let an unsafe workplace derail your life, career, and future. We get to know each client personally and strive to resolve each case as efficiently as possible to best seek a favorable settlement for you and your family.
Murphy Law Firm has successfully represented thousands of Montanans, including complex workers’ compensation claims.
Common types of unsafe workplaces
All Montana employers are required to ensure that employee workspaces are as safe as possible. However, there are several types of professions that place workers in a dangerous situation no matter what precautions have been taken, especially in an industrial location like Great Falls, MT. For instance, miners, heavy industrial workers, and others who work in unsafe workplaces often experience serious, debilitating injuries.
While unsafe conditions can arise in any profession and industry, Montana is especially known for a select few work environments that are particularly dangerous:
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are nearly 50 named oil fields in Montana. Oil field injuries frequently occur due to defective machinery, burns, electrical shocks, toxic exposure, explosions, and other dangers. These injuries are often life-changing, or even fatal, which is why they should be prevented at all costs. Our attorneys can determine the parties liable for your oil field injury so you can seek proper compensation.
Coal, gold, platinum, and limestone are all profitable resources in the state of Montana, but extracting these resources can prove to be very dangerous. We represent miners who have been hurt from falls, logging and other excavation, explosions, electrocution, and faulty equipment during mining operations. Our wide network of expert witnesses and consultants can help prove how your injuries were caused by others’ negligence.
Railroads have served an important purpose in business, travel, and occupations in communities throughout Montana for many decades. However, railway workers are often injured due to a supervisor or company oversight. Our attorneys know the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) like the back of our hand. This Act allows injured workers to collect maximum compensation for their injuries that were caused in part—or in full—by the negligence of their employer.
Common unsafe workplace injuries
Oil fields, mines, and railroads are just a few of the many dangerous occupations found throughout Big Sky Country, and workplace injuries in these occupations are usually life changing and debilitating. Common injuries that arise in such unsafe work environments include:
Working in oil fields can result in serious or even fatal burns. Working in mines and on railroads can result in electrical burns or electrocution. Burns can have a significant impact on your daily life and ability to complete necessary tasks.
A person working in a coal facility or any other type of mine is frequently near steep cliffs and large holes in the ground, where accidents like falling from a great distance are common. The machinery used is also heavy and dangerous, and can cause serious harm.
When an injury is severe enough to dramatically change your ability to complete basic tasks such as getting dressed or driving, it’s considered to be traumatic. These injuries include brain injuries, vision loss, and other severe forms of bodily injury.
Injuries caused by prolonged repetitive stress can seriously impact a person’s quality of life. Carpal tunnel, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), chronic back pain, and other repetitive stress injuries undermine your ability to work and may qualify you for benefits.
When injuries are so severe that they cause a fatality, this is considered “wrongful death.” Our attorneys can work to hold responsible parties liable for negligence and seek maximum compensation to financially support the worker’s family moving forward.
What are unsafe working conditions?
An unsafe workplace environment is considered any situation where a worker can’t perform their required job duties due to the presence of dangerous physical conditions. For example, defective equipment, exposed wires, toxic materials, asbestos contamination and lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) are common scenarios where unsafe conditions pose a danger to employees.
In 1993, the Montana State Legislature passed the Safety Culture Act (MSCA) to encourage workers and employers to create and implement a workplace safety philosophy. There are 6 requirements all employers must meet (plus 3 additional requirements employers with more than 5 employees must meet) to comply with the MSCA.
Under these basic requirements, “every employer in Montana shall establish, implement and maintain an educational based training program which shall, at a minimum”:
- Provide each new employee with a general safety orientation containing information common to all employees and appropriate to the business operations, before they begin their regular job duties.
- Provide periodic self-inspection for hazard assessment when the safety program is implemented, new worksites are established, and ongoing as is appropriate to the business operations (but at least annually).
- Offer continuing regular refresher safety training.
- Provide a system for the employer and their employees to develop an awareness and appreciation of safety through tools such as newsletters, periodic safety meetings, posters, and safety incentive programs.
- Provide job or task-specific safety training appropriate for employees before they perform that job or task without direct supervision.
- Include documentation of performance of activities listed above. This documentation must be kept by the employer for 3 years.
If you or your attorney can prove that your employer failed to meet any of these requirements, then you may have a case for unsafe working conditions.
What to do when working conditions are unsafe
Your legal rights & responsibilities
Federal law allows workers the right to refuse dangerous work without fear of retaliation. If you believe your working conditions are unsafe or unhealthful, take the following 3 steps:
- Notify your employer. Bring the conditions to your employer’s attention, if possible. Ask your employer to eliminate the danger, to correct the hazard, or to assign you other work. Tell your employer that you won’t perform the work unless and until the hazard is corrected, but remain at the worksite until ordered to leave by your employer.
- File a complaint. You may file an anonymous complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at any time, particularly if your employer is uncooperative and refuses to correct the hazard. If the hazard presents a risk of serious injury or death and there isn’t time to wait for an OSHA inspection (and if you’ve notified your employer), you have a legal right to refuse to work in the unsafe environment.
- Talk to an attorney. Seeking expert legal counsel can help you determine who was responsible and file a workers’ compensation lawsuit to collect benefits for your lost wages and medical expenses that arose from unsafe working conditions. An attorney can also defend you from retaliation by your employer.
If your employer tries to punish you for refusing to perform dangerous work or for filing a complaint, you or your attorney will need to call OSHA within 30 days of the retaliation.
In addition to the employer’s responsibility to take a safety complaint seriously and correct the hazard as soon as possible, workers must also comply with the following OSHA guidelines:
- Review all OSHA posters and safety handbooks
- Follow health and safety rules, and safe work practices
- Use required equipment
- Report hazardous conditions to employer
- Report uncorrected hazardous conditions to OSHA
What is OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency of the United States Department of Labor, created by Congress in 1971 under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, to protect the safety and health of the American workforce by enforcing workplace safety standards and laws. All private sector and post office employees in Montana (and nationwide) are covered by the federal OSHA program.
Our Montana attorneys can help you determine all liable parties during your free consultation
Our wide network of expert witnesses and resources enables us to determine all liable parties. We can pursue legal action against insurance and management companies, in addition to your employer, to gain as much compensation as possible.
We get to know each client personally and strive to resolve each case as efficiently as possible to best seek a favorable settlement for you and your family.
While our law office is based in Great Falls, MT, we strive to serve all injured workers and residents throughout Montana with experience, honesty, and integrity.
We may be able to help you obtain reimbursement and compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium (income, companionship, child care, etc.)
- Emotional distress (pain and suffering)
- Punitive damages (money given as punishment)
Contact Murphy Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation.
“I recommend Murphy Law Firm to anyone who needs legal assistance with a Workers’ Compensation claim. I was beyond impressed with Tommy Murphy’s handling of my case and ecstatic about the outcome. Incredibly professional and knowledgeable. No one in Montana knows more about this area of law.”