You can and should punish employees who refuse to play by company safety rules. You’ll probably win any workplace injury case if you can show that the accident would never have occurred if the employee had followed the rules.
Recent case: Holly Henson lost three fingers when she placed her hands in a press and another employee pushed it down. The company requires employees to wear restraints that keep their hands out of danger. Henson had been disciplined before for not wearing the restraints.
Henson got workers’ comp, but also sued her employer for an intentional tort.
The court rejected her lawsuit, reasoning that the employer did all it could to prevent the accident by training employees, providing the restraints and punishing employees who took unnecessary risks. Henson’s own shortcuts had caused the accident. (Henson v. Cleveland Steel, No. 2008-P-0053, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 2009)
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