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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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If a companys maintanence worker is asked to modify an automated

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If a company's maintanence worker is asked to modify an automated machine such as installing a NON factory, NON OSHA safety device and the device fails, can the person, persons who modified the equipment be held liable should the injured person suit for damages? It is my understanding that in the state of PA, a person can not suit their company but can suit a third party. I do not expect that my company would stand behind me should anything happen.

Please advise.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If your company's employee repaired the machine and someone was injured by the machine failing, then this is a workers compensation claim under PA law. The only way you can sue outside of workers compensation would be if you can prove that the employee committed an "intentional tort". When your employer has a machine fixed by an employee, the employee is an agent for whom the employer is liable and as such any injury that happens to another employee as a result would be workers compensation and not a personal suit against the person who fixed the machine.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What if the company claims they never autherized me to do the work?

Should I demand a written work order before I proceed?

Thank you for your response.

If you were doing the work as part of your job duties or on instructions from a supervisor, even if not in writing, you still are not liable. In fact, to hold you personally liable, as I said above, they have to prove you intentionally made the machine malfunction to hurt someone and they could never prove that in court.
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