In the eyes of public safety groups and legislators, employees at private companies face greater risks than public employees. While a significant amount of attention attention is paid to the safety of workers in the private sector, public workers can often go ignored. OSHA and North Carolina government agencies are charged with keeping private employers in line; however, public employees face significant dangers while on the job. Firefighters, law enforcement, road side crews and other public service workers are risking their lives every day.
Every worker faces different risks depending on their duties and tasks. Construction workers risk falls, industrial workers may risk chemical exposure, oil industry workers may risk fire and explosion. Public employees are often responsible for handling dangerous jobs intended to keep citizens safe from harm. This means that every day, these public employees are at risk of accidents, injuries, and even violence. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of all workers and can help public employees protect their rights.
It is a false conception that public workers face fewer dangers than those working in private industry. While workers for private construction companies, contractors, factors, or in other industrial settings face many hazards, there are different risks for public employees. According to recent reports, published by the National Council on Occupational Health and Safety, there were at least 8 public service workers who lost their lives in North Carolina in 2012. Dangerous public sector jobs include police officers, firefighters, road crews, school employees, emergency personnel, and employees working for state parks. These dedicated workers are often putting their own lives at risk to protect the general public.
Public employees are often acting to protect public citizens, which can put them at risk. They face an exceptionally high rate of injury and fatality on the job. A significant number of public employees die in highway or vehicle accidents. Last year, four employees of the North Carolina Department of Transportation were killed in motor vehicle accidents. These deaths are a reminder that all motorists should take greater care when traveling through construction and work zones. Department of Transportation crews are facing additional dangers because of distracted driving related to cell phones and other hand held devices.
Policymakers and legislators must take the necessary steps to ensure public worker safety in North Carolina. This requires having a specific understanding of the kinds of risk faced by public employees. These employees face the threat of injury, illness and death and must be protected with the same efforts as private employees. Public workers should be properly trained and have the same protections as private workers.
Like employees in the private sector, public service workers are entitled to workers compensation in the event of an accident. If you are a service worker and have been injured while on the job, remember that you do have options and you do have rights. An experienced attorney can investigate your case and pursue just compensation on your behalf. In addition to workers' compensation, you may also be entitled to financial compensation in the event of third-party negligence. Families of victims are also entitled to compensation after a public employee's death.
If you or someone you love has suffered work injury in North or South Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.
More Blog Entries:
New OSHA Rule for Crane and Derrick Workers, North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 27, 2013
New Legislation Aims to Bolster OSHA Role in Worker Safety, North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 25, 2013