The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is run by the U.S. Department of Labor. It was created by Congress in order to establish stricter workplace safety standards that protect workers and their rights, as well as to ensure that employers act responsibly to provide workplaces that are free from known dangers.
According to OSHA, over 4600 workers were killed in industrial accidents in 2011. This translates to 90 workers killed per week, and 13 workers killed a day. Even if these statistics are better than they have been in the past, there is still clearly room for improvement in the realm of workplace safety.
The majority of serious and deadly accidents occur within the construction industry, and the majority of those accidents were caused by one of the following:
- Being struck by an object
- Getting caught between objects
In order to ensure that safety statistics progress in the right direction, OSHA carries out workplace inspections. This allows the Administration to ensure that employers are enforcing proper safety standards. However, because there are so many workplaces to inspect and not enough resources to inspect them all, OSHA carries out inspections in the following order:
- When a workplace is reported to pose imminent danger to employees
- If a fatal accident or other catastrophe has occurred
- If there have been employee complaints
- If there is a high-hazard inspection
- In the case of follow-up inspections
After an inspection, the OSHA officer will cite any violations and propose penalties. Employers can then undergo an appeals process.
In addition to workplace inspections, OSHA runs other programs that are intended to also increase worker safety, such as training and education programs. OSHA also requires employers to keep detailed records on workplace injuries and illnesses. This enables both OSHA and the industry to develop a sense of which industries are high-hazard, and allows employees to know an employer’s safety record.
Employer and Employee Responsibilities Under OSHA
OSHA requires certain things of both employers and employees. While the list of such responsibilities is quite long, here are several of the most important guidelines for each.
Employer Responsibilities Under OSHA:
- Provide a workplace free of recognized hazards that could cause death or serious harm
- Be familiar with industry-relevant OSHA standards
- Keep employees informed of OSHA
- Minimize and reduce hazards in the workplace
- Make sure employees have safe and well-maintained equipment and personal protection devices
- Cooperate with OSHA compliance officers
Employee Responsibilities Under OSHA:
- Read OSHA materials provided by employer
- Comply with OSHA standards
- Follow employer safety protocols
- Wear safety equipment at all relevant times
- Report hazardous conditions immediately
- Cooperate during inspections
On-the-job Injuries Still Occur; We Can Help
OSHA has been instrumental in making industrial workplaces safer for employees across many industries, including construction, mining, and maritime. However, employer negligence still results in serious and often fatal workplace injuries.
The industrial injury attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP have the experience to get you the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury. Whether you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, a severed limb, or a chronic disease due to chemical exposure, our attorneys can help you begin putting your life back together. Contact us today to begin getting the answers you need.