An injured bus attendant can’t get enhanced workers’ compensation benefits after failing to prove his employer violated a specific safety requirement related to the incident.
The Ohio Court of Appeals found the safety requirement the bus attendant referred to – which required audible or visual warning devices on motor vehicles – was specific to workshops and factories and could not be applied to public transport.
Injured while bus was parked on public street
In State ex rel. Taylor v. Industrial Commission, the bus attendant was injured when he fell into a space between the bus and a wheelchair lift outside the bus while unloading a client in a wheelchair. The bus was parked along a public street in Akron, Ohio, at the time.
A workers’ compensation claim was filed and was granted for various back, hip, leg and foot issues stemming from the injury.
On Jan. 21, 2020, the bus attendant filed an application for an additional award claiming his employer violated a specific safety requirement that led to his injury. The safety requirement violated, according to the bus attendant, was one that stated, “All motor vehicles operating within the confines of the owner’s property shall be equipped with an audible or visual warning device, in an operable condition, activated at the operator’s station.”
Safety requirement applied only to workshops, factories
One year later, the matter was heard before a staff hearing officer (SHO) who denied the application finding the specific safety requirement the bus attendant referred to:
- applied only to workshops and factories, according to state law, and
- the area where the incident occurred didn’t fall under the definitions of workshop or factory.
After the application was denied, the bus attendant appealed with the state Industrial Commission, which declined to hear the case.
‘Code cannot apply to bus on public roadway’
On appeal with the Court of Appeals for the 10th District of Ohio, a magistrate judge assigned to review the case found the appeal should be denied for the same reasons outlined by the SHO.
“Clearly, (the code in question), which applies only to motor vehicles operating within the confines of the owner’s property, cannot apply to a bus operating on a public roadway,” the judge said. “Therefore, for this reason alone, claimant’s argument with respect to the applicability of (the code) can be rejected from the outset.”
The appeals court agreed and adopted the judge’s decision as its own.