Perhaps. More likely it would argued that the Employer had a duty to prevent this harm. In NY this type of claim would generally be barred by the workers compensation statutes. However, others could be to blame as well as the underlying cause of CO is oftentimes a malfunctioning piece of equipment. Best of luck in your class.
Ryan Finn * 518.213.0115 * Rfinn@hackermurphy.com * Referrals are the highest form of compliment
Agree with Mr. Finn. Most workplace injuries are going to be covered by workers compensation, which precludes personal injuries against companies or managers.
The only fact pattern I can see a lawsuit perhaps working against a company or its managers is a "whistleblower" kind of scenario, where a company/manager was aware that there was a dangerous and unsafe condition, or perhaps was even causing such a condition deliberately, or violating environmental and/or OSHA worker health and safety permits or regulations, and refused to remedy the defects.
In your question, it would be something like workers were getting sick, engineers were called in and determined CO levels were too high and ventilators had to be installed, but the executives balked at the $10,000 cost of ventilators and said we're not installing them...and there's a "whistleblower" somewhere in the equation that can find memos or emails documenting this. That's difficult to do, obviously.
Sometimes you do see criminal or civil liability against managers when there are blatant violations of safety standards, such as removing safety equipment like hand guards from machines to make them run faster, or locking emergency fire doors with "crash bar" exits to keep employees from stealing materials or goods, that sort of thing.
But, no, you usually don't see companies or managers personally liable. An area where this frequently comes up are claims that lack of ergonomic workstations caused repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and that there were requests from employees to get such ergonomic accommodations or safety upgrades.
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In Ohio most injuries on the job are covered by Worker's Compensation regardless of who caused the injury. Worker's Compensation does not cover pain and suffering. If you can prove that the employer committed an intentional tort against you then you can recover against the employer for the intentional tort pursuant to R.C. 2745.01. Recently, these causes of actions for an employer intentional tort have been routinely thrown out by the courts. Each day it is getting harder and harder for an injured worker in Ohio to recover for an employer intentional tort. However, the statute R.C. 2745.01(C) provides hope if the injured worker can show that the injury was caused by the employer removing an equipment safety guard. So if the injury that you ask about was due to the employer removing an equipment safety guard then you may have a viable cause of action, otherwise you would have to show that the employer deliberately injured its worker, which is nearly an impossible standard to prove. Maybe you should discuss this case with an attorney who handles these types of cases. You should be able to give him or her the facts over the phone so you probably would not have to hire an attorney to see if you have a case.