Workers’ Comp Claims Rise With a Drop in Worker Safety
Safety violations are a common cause of injuries in the workplace. Too often, employers have other priorities rather than ensuring the safety of their hardworking employees. It’s important to recognize common workplace safety violations. Victims of safety violations may bring a claim through our Denver workers’ compensation lawyers. When serious injuries occur, you may work with our Elite Litigation Group to claim fair compensation.
What Are OSHA Safety Violations?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency that creates and enforces safety standards in the workplace. The goal is to reduce work-related illness and injury. OSHA is part of the U.S. Department of Labor. The organization takes steps to create and enforce safety requirements and can take action to investigate and impose sanctions when violations occur.
What Are Safety Violations in the Workplace?
Safety violations in the workplace are conditions that pose an unreasonable risk of injury for employers. All jobs carry some risk. However, if workers are asked to perform their duties in conditions that pose too great of a risk, there are safety violations. OSHA may set some standards for safe practices. Industry standards and employer requirements determine other safe practices.
How Do Safety Violations in the Workplace Harm Employees?
Safety violations in the workplace harm employees by making accidents more likely to occur. In addition, a poor attitude towards safety in the workplace can contribute to other careless behavior and corner-cutting at work. Lackadaisical attitudes may ultimately persist at the expense of the workers. They have to live with the consequences when accidents occur.
Why Do Safety Violations Occur in the Workplace?
If we know that safety violations can lead to injury on the job, why do they occur? Here are some reasons that safety violations may occur in the workplace:
- Employers believe that following safety regulations takes too much time.
- Confusion exists about what safety regulations exist.
- Misinterpretation of rules leads to the incorrect implementation.
- Workers and company representatives don’t have the training they need to teach employees how to implement safety.
- Personal protective equipment breaks and isn’t replaced.
- Implementing safety protocols comes at an expense.
- Employers do not have the skill or resources to implement a sound safety program.
- Horseplay occurs and people do not take safety seriously.
Safety violations may occur because of intentional, reckless or negligent conduct. Sometimes, an employer acts extremely recklessly to forgo safe practices. Other times, they simply don’t have the knowledge or resources to have an appropriate safety policy. But that’s no excuse — employers are legally and ethically obligated to have safe business practices. When they don’t, the results can be disastrous.
Does OSHA Give Out Fines for Safety Violations?
Yes, OSHA gives out fines for safety violations. When they believe that an employer is not following the required procedures, they can investigate. If they find that the employer is at fault, they may impose penalties.
In fact, in 2013, a plastics company in Colorado was fined $129,200 for willful and serious violations. The company committed a variety of offenses, including:
- Failing to use proper lockout/tag-out procedures for machinery under maintenance
- Inadequate guarding of a saw used to cut plastic material
- Not training workers in the appropriate handling of hazardous chemicals
- Insufficient protections for electrical equipment and work
Any OSHA violation is a serious breach of safety protocol. Standards vary based on the work being done and the industry involved. Unfortunately, when an injury results, it is already too late to undo the harm that the victim endures.
What Relief Is There for the Victim of a Workplace Safety Violation?
The victim of a workplace safety violation may qualify for financial compensation. In most cases, they may bring their claim through the workers’ compensation system. The system allows a victim to access replacement income and cost-free medical attention. Typically, the victim does not have to prove that the employer’s safety violation was willful. In fact, they may access compensation even if the accident occurs through no fault of the employer.
The employee must demonstrate that they were working in the course of their employment at the time of the accident. State law determines how much compensation a person should receive as a replacement for their lost wages. The individual must follow the proper steps to report the accident and document their deserved compensation.
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The worker should carefully review how their claim is handled to ensure they receive fair treatment under the law. An attorney can assist them in determining if they have gotten the payments that they deserve. They can also take action if the employer and the workers’ compensation insurer don’t treat the claim correctly.
Intentional Claims for Workplace Safety Violation Injuries
Colorado is a state that allows injured workers to bring claims against their employers in some cases. In cases of very bad behavior on the part of the employer, direct compensation may be available. Circumstances may be where the worker is not provided with necessary safety equipment or when they negligently hire someone who later commits an assault against the worker.
There are precise guidelines for when a worker can bring this kind of claim. In addition to serious misconduct as grounds for a direct claim, another reason to bring a claim directly against the employer is when the employer should have workers’ compensation insurance, but they fail to obtain it.
Third-Party Legal Claims for Safety Violations
In addition to a workers’ compensation action, it may be possible for a victim to bring a third-party legal claim for a safety violation. There may be more than just the employer who is liable for the harm. Typically, to include a third party in a claim, they must be responsible for negligent, reckless or intentional conduct that results in the injury.
Help for Workplace Safety Violations
Do you need an attorney? Our personal injury law firm gets successful case results for work injury victims. Contact us today to see if you have a claim, what it may be worth and what’s involved in the case. Our attorneys never charge for a consultation. See how our aggressive, passionate litigators can help you pursue your legal rights and receive the compensation you deserve.