OSHA and Workers' Compensation
Hundreds of people in Massachusetts are fully aware of the various possible hazards that they face while working. As a result, they make sure to use all safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, to keep their coworkers and themselves protected.
When a company fails to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, it negatively impacts the health and safety of its employees. The workers' compensation attorneys at Bellotti Law Group P.C. assist employees in asserting their rights if their employer has broken the law. A professional Boston workplace rights lawyer will vigorously defend people who have been injured on the job or as a result of unsafe working conditions.
We understand how traumatic and frustrating it can be to suffer injuries as a result of an accident, especially if you were hurt on a worksite.What is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?
The OSHA governs workplace safety. Inspections of work sites are performed by authorities to implement administration requirements and to issue reports detailing workplace safety. Although OSHA is a federal agency, most states work with it to establish state-specific plans. These states give standards that extend to both federal and state employees. States that chose not to develop their plans must adhere to federal OSHA standards. These only refer to self-employed individuals. Since Massachusetts does not have OSHA state standards, however, private employees are subject to OSHA federal regulations.Common OSHA Violations That Equate to Serious Injuries to Workers
On average, there are several common OSHA violations every year. Because of forgetfulness, laziness, or budget constraints, it is all too common for construction workers to fail to reduce the risk of injury.
Employers must comply with a range of OSHA standards. Employees must be informed of their OSHA rights by their employers. They must keep a safe workplace and obey all OSHA regulations, which include everything from workplace air quality to noise levels, flooring materials, and the construction of ladders and stairs. Employers must also make workers aware of potential hazards in the workplace, educate them on OSHA rules and how to stay safe, and provide them with OSHA inspection reports on request.
Employers are expected to do the following in most cases:
- Falls: At a minimum, contractors in the construction industry are expected to include protective precautions in places where employees are at risk of falling more than six feet.
- Struck by an object: Construction workers are required to wear protective equipment to protect themselves from falling objects. Employers may have a legal responsibility to provide staff with access to this safety equipment.
- Stuck in equipment: Worker protection mechanisms must be in place to prevent employees from being entangled in machinery.
- Electrocution: If there are electronic circuits on a Jobsite, employees must be protected.
The criteria and the list that your employer must abide by will vary depending upon the industry.What are the Rights Under OSHA?
OSHA investigates workplace safety complaints and can issue citations and fines for unsafe practices. It has various criteria depending on the sector of the employer. General Industry, Construction, Maritime, and Agriculture are the agency's four group standards. The guidelines differ by category, but they are all intended to protect workers from a wide variety of risks. Fall protection is one of them, as are restrictions on a worker's exposure to noise, chemicals, and other hazardous substances, as well as the unlimited supply of protective equipment such as respirators.
The general duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act also allows employees to keep their workplaces free of any significant known hazards. Even if there is no specific OSHA standard that applies to the situation, entities must comply with this clause.
Under OSHA, you have several rights. You have the right to work in a safe environment, and you have the right to stop working if there is a safety hazard or an OSHA violation that puts you in danger. If you suspect violations, you have the right to file a complaint with OSHA or request an inspection of your workplace. You have the right to receive safety training and to be informed about any potential hazards at work. You will have the right to file a safety complaint against your employer without fear of retaliation.Can Employers Discriminate or Retaliate?
If you report an OSHA violation or a suspected violation, your employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you. You can make a complaint with both the state and federal OSHA if you have been retaliated against or discriminated against for exercising your rights. You can also speak with our attorney about filing a claim for damages.Consult With Our Massachusetts Attorney
When you are injured at work, the options for receiving compensation from your employer are usually limited to making a workers' compensation claim. If an OSHA violation occurs, however, there may be several possibilities for seeking further damages in a personal injury case, including making third-party claims.
Our Massachusetts lawyers at Bellotti Law Group P.C. have been defending injured employees for several years. Contact our workers' compensation attorneys today to discuss your case.