Why We Need Strong Workplace Safety Laws (Guest Post)

Written by Joseph Ginarte 

Many jobs involve some inherent dangers. However, an employer is always liable for maintaining a safe workplace and observing regulations set by OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This liability covers anyone working on the premises, whether that person is an employee of the company or an independent contractor. In addition to a safe environment, the employer is also required to provide safe tools, including vehicles, appliances and other devices utilized to perform the work. Employers must caution employees about hazards relating to the job that the employee may not know about, provide sufficient help to get a job done safely and consistently enforce safety rules so that all employees comply. 

Workplace safety laws are complex and vary from state to state. However, in most cases, state laws conform very closely to the federal OSHA regulations. In the event of a workplace injury, in most states the standards set forth by OSHA are usually those that employers will be held responsible for. Employers are seldom held liable for any and every possible injury, simply because it happened in the course of employment. The factor that will determine whether an employee’s claim against an employer is justifiable is whether the injury occurred as a direct result of the employer’s failure to observe safety standards. 

If an injury should occur on the job, your first step should be to seek proper medical help for yourself. As soon as is reasonably possible given the circumstances of your health, you should notify the employer of your injury. Take steps immediately to file a claim for worker’s compensation. While no state requires an attorney to make a worker’s compensation claim, the services of an experienced attorney may be very helpful at this time. In addition, an injury lawyer can be useful in ensuring that the medical help you are receiving is adequate. It’s important to have an experienced expert oversee this issue because you will initially be required to utilize doctors specified by the company’s worker’s compensation insurance provider, not your own doctors. The attorney will also ensure that the facts of your claim are properly presented and that all documents are in order. 

In addition to worker’s compensation, a work injury may justify a personal injury claim as well. While worker’s compensation benefits require little proof beyond the facts that the injury occurred on the job, the basis for a personal injury claim is always negligence on the part of the party who is liable. Negligence can be difficult to prove in an employment injury and requires the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney. Workplace personal injury claims must be carefully documented including medical records and statements of witnesses to the accident. In addition, very strict statutes of limitations apply. A personal injury attorney can advise you on your rights and responsibilities as well as evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and offer an estimate, based on his or her experience, of the most likely outcome in terms of compensation. If you decide to go ahead with the claim, the personal injury attorney can make sure all important deadlines are fulfilled and gather the facts necessary to present your case.  

This guest post was contributed by Joseph A. Ginarte. He is a specialist personal injury attorney New York and the proprietor of the Ginart Law firm. He enjoys writing and sharing his insights on various legal blogs.

Note: As stated in a similar post, companies are required by OSHA not only to provide the proper tools and equipment for employees and see that they are trained properly, but also furnish the right work safety productsfor the particular job.  Then it is up to each worker to wear that PPE at all times while on the job.  PPE is the last line of defense in protecting each worker. Pat