OSHA and Work Injuries
Many people who do physical labor, whether it’s construction, assembly, or warehouse work have heard of OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is a federal agency that is part of the Department of Labor. It was created in 1971 in order to ensure that workplaces are safe for workers. OSHA will set safety standards, and it will also enforce them. This includes providing training, while also investigating incidents.OSHA Requirements for Employers
Employers have a basic obligation to make sure that the workplace is safe for their employees and others. There are many aspects of that.
- Finding Safer Alternatives: Employers must seek out hazards and remove them by finding safer alternatives. This is the case even when there is protective equipment that makes the hazard less dangerous. For example, if there is a chemical that is hazardous, but safe with a mask, the employer still must try to find a different, less hazardous chemical.
- Keep Records: Employers must keep records of all injuries and illnesses that are related to work.
- Notify OSHA: If someone at the workplace is killed in a fatal worksite accident, the employer must inform OSHA within eight hours. If someone is hospitalized, the employer must inform OSHA within 24 hours.
OSHA gives workers (whether an employee or independent contractor) certain rights at work. This includes:
- Working Conditions: Workers have the right to a safe work environment.
- Transparency: Workers have the right to see many records regarding workplace safety.
- Cooperation with OSHA: Workers may file complaints and cooperate with OSHA without fear of retribution.
With many serious injuries that happen in the workplace, OSHA will do a thorough investigation. The agency will find out what happened, it will investigate whether any of its regulations and standards were violated, and it will assess fines if there were indeed violations. This is helpful if you are injured in a workplace accident.OSHA Investigations and Workers Compensation
If you’re injured at work, there are many types of workers compensation benefits that are available to you. This includes benefits for total disability, partial disability, and coverage for medical expenses. In most cases, whether the accident happened at work, and the circumstances around it aren’t really contested. If you suffer a major injury at work, such as breaking your leg, the insurance company isn’t going to try to deny that it happened. You’ll get these standards benefits.
But, there are many types of Workers Compensation benefits that depend on the conduct of the employer. If the employer had a long history of a certain safety issue, there are additional benefits that might be available to you. This includes Section 28 benefits.
There are also situations where someone other than your employer was responsible for the accident. This would allow you to bring a third party claim against that person or business for your pain and suffering.
An OSHA investigation develops a roadmap to proving that your employer was negligent, which may lead to additional benefits for you.Experienced Workers Compensation Attorneys
At Marcotte Law Firm, our Workers Compensation lawyers know how to work with OSHA and then use their reports to show how a dangerous condition was ignored. So, even if you think you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to, you should contact a lawyer right away to make sure you’re not leaving anything on the table.
If you’ve been hurt at work and the event is being investigated by OSHA, call the lawyers at Marcotte Law Firm for a free consultation.