When American workers get injured on the job, the state workers’ compensation systems and the personal injury process help to ensure that workers aren’t burdened with the costs associated with the harm they’ve suffered. In an ideal world however, work injuries wouldn’t occur in the first place. Too often, workers are (understandably) so preoccupied with securing any compensation to which they’re rightfully entitled that they overlook their rights to request safety inspections and otherwise hold their employers accountable for unsafe working conditions. Although not all work-related injuries and occupational illnesses result from unsafe working conditions, when they do, employers should be held accountable for any safety violations that have contributed to work-related harm of employees, contractors, volunteers, etc. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration not only creates safety standards for American workplaces, it enforces those standards as well.
OSHA and Worker Safety – The Basics
OSHA was created as part of the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. It is a sub-administration nested within the broader U.S. Department of Labor. Over OSHA’s first 50 years, its power and presence have dramatically altered the American workplace. OSHA’s website describes the agency’s mission as “(ensuring) safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”
One of the hallmarks of OSHA’s operations is its authority as a workplace safety inspector. OSHA regularly inspects American job sites to better ensure that they remain in compliance with safety standards set by OSHA and by Congress. Workers who feel unsafe in their workplaces may anonymously request that OSHA inspect their jobsite. As OSHA has the authority to inspect virtually any worksite at virtually any time, anonymous requests for inspection do not “step on” an employer’s rights in any way. As a result, workers who hesitate to anonymously request an inspection out of fear that their employer will somehow retaliate out of a sense of being “wronged” can put this fear to rest. Workplace safety is a right, not a privilege. If you have already been hurt or you fear becoming hurt or made ill as a result of unsafe working conditions, consider filing an anonymous inspection request with OSHA or allowing us to do so anonymously on your behalf. You just might save your own life or the life of a coworker by taking this action.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you’ve been harmed on the job as a result of unsafe working conditions, please know that our firm can help you exercise your rights not only in regards to workers’ compensation and/or personal injury claims but also in regards to worker safety. We want to ensure that you remain safe when you return to your jobsite and that your coworkers remain safe as well. If you have questions about a work injury case, contact a work injury lawyer, like the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for more information.