OSHA and Your Work Accident: What You Should Know
There’s a chance that you’re already familiar with the acronym OSHA. At the very least, you should know that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration falls under the direction of the United States Department of Labor. According to OSHA’s mission statement, it exists “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” Therefore it has everything to do with overseeing the conditions that led to your work accident.
Getting hurt on the job can be devastating for you and your family. It can lead to lost wages, hospital bills, and even the end of a career. It can also lead to fatalities.
Suppose you work in a factory or construction site and you need to be hospitalized because you were struck by a falling ladder. You sustain multiple broken bones and will need time to recover. What are your options?
Employers are required by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to identify and fix safety hazards at work sites. A New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney may be able to advise you if you think your employer is ignoring their responsibilities in keeping the workplace safe. Your employer may be liable for severe penalties and subject to workers’ compensation lawsuits.
When do workplace accidents need to be reported to OSHA?
It is the role of OSHA to impose strict regulations on every aspect of workplace safety. OSHA will investigate workplaces for safety, address issues of unsafe practices, protect the rights of workers, and take action when a workplace is unsafe, including penalties and shutting down workplaces where unsafe practices exist.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers some alarming statistics. In 2016, it seems that private industry employers cited almost 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. And according to the OSHA website, 4,693 workers were killed on the job in 2016.
Under New Jersey’s worker’s compensation law, an employee must report a workplace injury to the employer within 30 days from the date of the injury. If not, the right to obtain benefits could be lost. However, only select accidents are also reported to OSHA – and must follow strict reporting guidelines.
OSHA’s revised safety rule that went into effect January 1, 2015 requires all companies to immediately report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and eye losses within 24 hours and on-the-job fatalities within 8 hours.
You should hire a lawyer to help you with filing worker’s compensation claim. Don’t decide on your own that your injury is too small to seek treatment or benefits. Unfortunately, medical conditions can escalate – and you need to make sure you file as soon as the accident occurs.
You should also be aware that employees have the right to make a complaint to OSHA or to request an inspection of a workplace if they suspect safety violations. Employers are required to post a Department of Labor poster in the workplace with information about employees’ OSHA rights, as well as having employer’s obligations posted on the OSHA website.
Additionally, reports of severe injuries and illnesses are made public on the OSHA website.
Contact a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you are a New Jersey worker and you have been hurt in a workplace accident, you may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and short or long-term care. Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law will help you to secure fair compensation for your work-related losses. Contact us today for a free consultation.