Proceeding in this Court
Scott Lythgoe and Addison D. Larreau, Attorneys for
Mitton and Matthew J. Black, Attorneys for Respondents
Ferrari Color and Workers' Compensation Fund
Diana Hagen authored this Opinion, in which Judges Gregory K.
Orme and Kate A. Toomey concurred.
Javier Rojas was injured while working as a printing machine
operator for Ferrari Color. Rojas seeks judicial review of
the Utah Labor Commission's decision that he was not
entitled to a 15% increase in disability compensation because
his injury did not result from a willful safety violation by
his employer. We conclude that Ferrari Color's conduct
does not constitute a "willful failure" under the
Utah Workers' Compensation Act and therefore decline to
disturb the Commission's decision.
As a printing machine operator, Rojas's duties required
him to place print media onto the machine's rollers and
ensure that the media did not become wrinkled during the
printing process. To watch the media as it ran through the
printer, Rojas stood on a box and looked through an open
center access panel.
In January 2013, Rojas saw the media wrinkling and reached
into the printer to flatten it. Before he could remove his
left hand, the industrial printer's support bar briefly
trapped his hand and a portion of the printer head scraped
across it, tearing Rojas's skin and causing his hand to
bleed. Rojas reported the injury to the print department
manager (the manager), but Rojas declined medical treatment.
The next month, Ferrari Color terminated Rojas's
employment for an unrelated timeclock violation. Following
his termination, Rojas contacted the Utah Occupational Safety
and Health Division (UOSH) and reported that the manager had
removed the printer's safety sensor. In response, a UOSH
inspector conducted a site inspection in April 2013 and found
that a safety sensor had been bypassed, allowing the printer
to run with the doors open. Under Utah law, an employer may
not lawfully "remove, disable, or bypass safety devices
and safeguards." Utah Code Ann. § 34A-2-301(1)(d)
(LexisNexis 2015). Consequently, Ferrari Color was cited for
a serious violation of safety standards.
Rojas subsequently filed a hearing application with the
Commission, requesting workers' compensation benefits
along with a 15% increase in disability compensation for a
willful safety violation. After a hearing, the administrative
law judge (the ALJ) awarded Rojas all of the requested
benefits, including the 15% increase.
Ferrari Color and its insurance carrier, Workers'
Compensation Fund (collectively, Ferrari Color), appealed the
ALJ's order to the Commission. Among other things,
Ferrari Color asserted that it did not engage in a willful
safety violation that would entitle Rojas to a 15% increase
in compensation under Utah Code section 34A-2-301(2). The
Commission adopted the ALJ's factual findings but
modified the ALJ's decision, setting aside the portion of
the order awarding Rojas a 15% increase in disability
compensation. Rojas petitions for judicial review of that
AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rojas contends that the Commission erred when it determined
that Ferrari Color's conduct was not willful and thus did
not trigger a 15% increase in disability ...