Inadequate Worker Protections: Workers Remain at Serious Risk
Despite regulations that are designed to keep workers safe, too many people are still hurt on the job because of inadequate worker protections. Federal and state laws require employers to provide a safe workplace. When injuries or death occur because of inadequate safety protections,
employers and other entities may be held liable for damages.
Deaths and Injuries at Work
OSHA regulations require that the workplace be free of known health and safety hazards. Although progress has been made in increasing workplace safety, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total of 5,190 workplace fatalities and almost three million work-related injuries and illnesses in 2016 alone.
Not All Work Hazards are Apparent
Job hazards are not always obvious, especially to new employees. Miners and oil rig workers are exposed to obvious hazards. Other jobs may also involve tasks or conditions that can result in injury, illness or death, but the dangers may not be as apparent.
Exposure to hazardous substances or disease, sick building syndrome, heavy lifting, repetitive motions that stress the body, along with other daily tasks contribute to the toll of workplace injuries and fatalities each year. OSHA requires employers to proactively identify and recognize workplace hazards and to train employees to perform job duties safely.
Workers Have Rights when it Comes to Safety
Workers have a right to know the hazards associated with their jobs. Each year workplace injuries and fatalities result in OSHA citations levied against employers who failed to adequately protect workers.
A frequent issue is the employer’s failure to identify hazards and provide appropriate safety training, but workers have other rights when it comes to safety, including:
- Safety training in a language they understand
- Equipment that is in good repair and safe to operate
- Employer-provided safety gear
- The ability to request an OSHA inspection
- A system for reporting an injury or illness and access to medical records
Workers May Be Entitled to Compensation
A work injury lawyer reviewing a workplace injury case will attempt to determine if the employer identified the risk to workers and then provided adequate safety training, equipment, and awareness to prevent the injury. If third-party negligence is indicated, the injured worker may be entitled to recover compensation for injuries, pain, suffering, medical expenses and lost income in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.