In our last post, we discussed how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees employers and workplace safety for people working on the job here in Indiana, Illinois, and the rest of the country.
OSHA not only researches all sorts of issues regarding dangers that face workers in all kinds of job environments, but the agency also works to increase safety on the job site and in the office environment.
OSHA also passes federal laws (rules and regulations) to force companies and employers to maintain minimum standards of workplace safety. OSHA inspectors then go out into the field to see if employers are complying with these OSHA rules and regulations. Failures can result in fines and even criminal penalties for the employer.
For more, read our posts on these issues, including:
- OSHA Pushes Employers on Reporting On the Job Injuries: Will Workers Be Safer at Work?
- OSHA Targets Construction Workers’ Risk of Wrongful Death from Falls While Working on the Job
- We Still Can’t Trust Companies to Keep Workers Safe: OSHA at Work.
OSHA and Accident Claims for On-the-Job Injuries and Illnesses
When someone is hurt on the job here in Indiana and Illinois, and the injuries are the result of neglect or malfeasance on the part of their employer, then state laws come into play to help get them justice.
These are personal injury laws and workers’ compensation statutes that exist independently of the federal agency regulations passed by OSHA. While OSHA does punish and penalize employers, it does not process claims for workers who have been hurt on the job. That is left to personal injury law and workers’ compensation systems.
OSHA’s Contributions to the Private Injury Claim of the Injured Worker
However, the work done by OSHA is important and vital to many individual employee accident claims. OSHA helps accident victims hurt at work in various ways.
- OSHA Research and Expertise in Variety of Industries and Work Environments
First of all, OSHA rules and regulations are specific to a wide variety of industries. OSHA has expertise in workplace safety and safety issues for all sorts of work.
It was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 specifically to protect workers from being injured while working on the job and making it the law of the land that employers keep their employees safe from known dangers in the workplace. See, Worker’s Rights, an OSHA Publication.
OSHA reports and studies provide excellent reference material for the civil personal injury or workers’ compensation claim pursued by an individual worker who has been seriously hurt on the job here in Illinois or Indiana.
For instance, read “Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016: A Starting Point for Workplace Safety.”
- OSHA Records of Past Accidents
Second, OSHA records of past accidents in that employer’s work history, either at the site of the accident or elsewhere, can provide needed information on the company’s attitude or approach to workplace safety and the value of keeping workers safe from harm.
For severe injuries, employers are required to report to OSHA (1) any worker fatality within 8 hours and (2) any amputation, loss of an eye, or hospitalization of a worker within 24 hours.
- OSHA Standards as Evidence of Neglect
Third, the standards established by OSHA for workplace safety can be used against the defendant in the specific accident claim and any resulting litigation. OSHA standards are recognized and respected in Indiana and Illinois injury cases.
It is the duty of the accident victim to prove his accident claim has merit and that he is entitled to damages. This means that he must provide admissible evidence that the company has acted negligently and in doing so, caused his injuries.
The injured worker can reference the violation of a recognized OSHA standard as evidence of that breach of duty by a company charged with keeping him safe from harm on the job. If the company failed to comply with OSHA requirements, then it is arguable that the company was negligent and therefore liable for the worker’s damages.
Workers and employees in Indiana and Illinois need to be prepared for the possibility that they may be hurt and injured on the job and need to pursue an injury claim against their employer for negligence. OSHA works not only to monitor national workplace safety, but to help the individual worker who has been injured on the job. Let’s be careful out there!