State and Federal OSHA – A Question of Proper Enforcement

Each and every year, there are about 6,000 workers who die as a result of workplace injuries.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor (DOL) another 50,000 die from illnesses that are caused by exposure to workplace hazards. It gets even worse. There are another 6 million who suffer non-fatal injuries too, which cost the country close to $150 billion yearly.
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Our Asheville workers’ compensation lawyers understand that many of these workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities are in fact completely preventable. Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.”

There have even been some states that have decided to enact occupational heath and safety laws. These states push their own set of standards that are meant to be as “effective” as federal law. The problem is in the enforcement. While the laws may be in place, employers and enforcers don’t always abide. And that’s where we get so many work accidents, injuries and deaths.

Who is the Act supposed to cover?

It’s supposed to cover all workers (except those who are self employed and those who are considered public employees in both local and state governments). Agencies that are covered by other federal regulations do not count, like some agencies of the Department of Transportation and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

What are an Employer’s Responsibilities?

Employers are required to make sure that all equipment and tools are properly maintained. This includes the personal protective equipment that is required to be provided to workers. Medical examinations must also be provided to deserving workers. Training and education is one of the most important things that an employer must provide an employee. That’s why it’s federally required for an employer to provide this for a worker. Companies and employers are also required to report any kind of accident that results in a death. They’re also required to report any work accidents that land three or more employees in the hospital.

Additional Requirements of an Employer:

-To keep records of all work injuries, accidents, illnesses and more. This information must include the cause of the incident.

-An OSHA poster must be posted in a visible area. This poster should inform workers about their responsibilities and rights on the job.

-Workers are to be allowed access to their exposure and medical records.

-Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees in any kind of way.

-Employers must abate cited violations within the prescribed period.

Even with all of these regulations in place, we’re still seeing far too many workers injured and killed on the job. It’s important that we keep an eye out for our personal safety while at work. Report any hazards or dangers to help to keep you and your coworkers safe!

Have you or a loved one been injured on the job? Contact the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

North Carolina Work Safety: Generator Safety Risks, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 29, 2012

Works Accidents & Carbon Monoxide: An Undetectable Killer, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 26, 2012

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