The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was passed to prevent workers from being harmed in the workplace. It is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal government agency that sets forth and enforces workplace health and safety rules.
There are four types of OSHA workplace violations: Willful, Serious, Repeated and Other-than-serious. Depending on the type of violation, an employer may face severe penalties for a violation. Most employers are required to prominently display a poster in the workplace advising of their OSHA responsibilities and workers’ rights. Even failing to display such a poster may be a violation.
The most common violations relate to industrial accidents. When an employer violates these safety regulations, very serious injuries, even death, may occur. The four most common OSHA violations relate to:
Fall Protection: Workers working at levels six feet and above must be provided with some type of fall protection.
Machine Guarding: Moving machine parts must guarded to prevent injuries to workers.
Powered Industrial Trucks: These sort of vehicles include fork lifts, tractors, lift trucks and the like. The vehicles must have safety measures in place, for instance, backing lights and horns, to prevent serious injury to those persons working around the vehicles.
Ladders: OSHA provides specific regulations regarding the design and use of ladders in the workplace.
If you believe that a violation has occurred or even that you are working in an unsafe environment, you may make a confidential complaint to OSHA. In some cases, this will trigger a swift OSHA inspection of your workplace. If a violation if found, an employer may face monetary penalties and of course be required to promptly fix the problem. OSHA regulations also allow employees to request information from their employers regarding workplace health and safety hazards. This might include information about chemicals used in the workplace, potentially harmful radiation or noise levels.
You should also be aware that if work-related fatality does occur, OSHA regulations require that it be reported to the nearest OSHA office within eight hours. If a work-related injury results in eye loss, amputation, and hospitalization, these incidents must be reported within twenty-four hours.
If you have been injured at work or have questions about whether you should report an unsafe working environment to OSHA, contact Dworken & Bernstein at (216)861-4211 to speak directly to one of our Workers’ Compensation attorneys.