New Legislation Aims to Bolster OSHA Role in Worker Safety

Many workers face dangerous conditions every day on the job. OSHA is the federal organization responsible for overseeing conditions in the workplace, for making sure workers are properly trained, equipment is maintained, and that companies are held liable in the event of an accident or injury. Companies who fail to meet guidelines and follow OSHA regulations can also be fined even if no accident or injury has occurred.

Our workplace accident attorneys have extensive experience in the investigation of workplace accidents and injuries. We know that OSHA plays an integral part in workplace safety and that any violation can be used as evidence of negligence in the event of a work-related injury.

Some critics of OSHA have argued that the standards and requirements make hiring difficult and can kill job prospects. In the current economy, this kind of rhetoric can put workers at odds with an organization that has saved the lives of millions of workers. According to recent studies, OSHA inspections can actually save companies billions of dollars in workers’ compensation costs, lost hours, and lost productivity that can occur after an accident or injury.

Conversely, unexamined work sites can create serious hazards and result in injury or death. Though occupational fatality rates have decreased since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, there is some evidence that workplace safety conditions have been on the decline. Recent reports indicate that job fatality rates have been essentially unchanged over the past three years.

Workers in certain industries face more dangerous conditions than in others. The fishing and logging industries have some of the highest fatality rates. Non-fatal injuries threaten workers in the fire safety and nursing fields. In any industry, companies must be scrutinized to ensure that workers are safe and to take every measure to avoid preventable injury or death. Data collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration indicates that there are approximately 13 deaths per day, non-including work-related illness.

After the recent fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas which killed 14 workers, OSHA as well as state and federal officials should be considering potential inspection failures that left workers vulnerable to such an accident. Initial investigations indicate that failure to enforce and regulate the plant created unsafe and dangerous working conditions. Worker advocates are urging members of Congress to pass the Protecting America’s Workers Act to strengthen OSHA’s role in worker safety.

With the high rates of accidents and injuries, it is important for companies and employees to make safety as a priority. Though OSHA inspections and regulations can make companies more accountable, workers continue to suffer serious and fatal injuries on the job. Work-related illness is also a serious threat to many workers that can cause health issues even into old age.

In the event of an accident or injury or work-related illness, it is important to consult with an experienced advocate who can successfully protect your rights and interests. An immediate investigation will identify the cause of the accident or injury and give you the documentation necessary to make workers’ compensation claims and any additional third-party claims you are entitled to.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a North Carolina work-related accident, contact the Lee Law Offices at 1-800-887-1965.

US work-related deaths tops 150-a-day finds AFL-CIO Report, MSNBC, May 8, 2013.

OSHA Can Save Lives and Jobs, Official Blog of the Department of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, May 21, 2012.

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