It's relatively easy to be issued a Stop Work Order (SWO) but how do you avoid it?
1. Get your workers' compensation coverage in place! This is a no-brainer, but I meet so many 1st-time business owners who are unaware of their need to get it. Basically, if you are in the construction fields, you need to be covered by a workers' compensation exemption, have an employee leasing company cover your wages, and/or have a workers' compensation policy.
If you are in the non-construction fields, you can skate by without the coverage listed above if you have fewer than four employees.
2. If the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) investigator starts asking questions to you or your crew, simply don't answer! The DWC investigators are not cops. They cannot hold you against your will, force you to answer questions, or make you show them your insurance paperwork. This doesn't mean they can't ask other people, look at any permits pulled, or read the sticker on the side of your work truck advertising your business, and send you a legal demand later; but you are not required to help the person that wants to shut your business down.
3. Once you get a Stop Work Order, sometimes the SWO may have been levied by mistake. This is absolutely true. When I was a DWC prosecutor there were numerous times we had to tell the investigator to drop the SWO because it was based on either bad evidence or bad law. As an attorney, who defends companies that have received SWOs, I have been able to get quite a few companies' SWOs removed!
Once again, if you get a Stop Work Order, please feel free to give our office a call and see if we can help you.