In the USA, anyone who has ever had a job might not think too much on the regulations that are put in place to keep them safe every day. Yet, that being said, very few would go to a job every day where there was a good chance they would get injured. However, despite the regulations put in place to keep us safe, accidents do happen.
While most employers take the safety regulations detailed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) very seriously, not every regulation is followed. In fact, some regulations are more disregarded than others for a variety of reasons. As per usual, it is fall protection that leads the way in violations.
Of all OSHA regulations, fall protection regulations received the most OSHA citations across the United States, again for the sixth straight year. With 6,000 violations from October 2016 through September 2017, fall protection violations again beat out other common regulatory violations such as scaffolding, respiratory protection, and hazard communication.
It has been found that these violations in Minnesota and other states come from improper implementation of OSHA standards or no implementation at all. Yet, after six straight years of having this regulatory breach on the top of the list, it seems neither OSHA nor employers are doing much to protect workers from falls.
As it stands now, OSHA fall protection states that employers must:
Have a guard around every floor hole where an employee could walk.
Provide guardrails to elevated platforms over four feet from the floor or near dangerous machines or equipment.
Employers must provide safety harnesses, nets, and lines where necessary, such as working in high and unstable conditions.
This is a relatively small list of the regulatory standard which makes it even more baffling that it tops regulatory violations for the sixth straight year. However, if you were injured at work due to OSHA violations, it can not only greatly help your worker’s compensation case go forward but it can open up a third-party lawsuit to receive further compensation.
In cases of an OSHA violation causing an injury at work, in some cases, you may be able to collect worker’s compensation AND pursue a third-party lawsuit for an injury resulting from an OSHA violation against your employer. In most cases of work injury, your employer is protected from lawsuits by the worker’s compensation system, but if an OSHA violation was responsible, this essentially nullifies that protection. However, this may not apply to all claims, which is why you should definitely bring it up with your worker’s compensation attorney to see if you can and should pursue it.
Regardless of if you choose to pursue a third-party lawsuit against your employer for an OSHA violation, the violation should be reported so that it can be rectified. It is likely that your employer will at least face some fines for it. However, it will hopefully spur them towards fixing the violation so no one else gets hurt.
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