Chances are that if you are a worker in any field of employment in Georgia or throughout the US, you have heard of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. This federal agency is tasked with ensuring that workers are able to benefit from safe conditions as established by given standards and necessary training and education. They set forth the rights of employees and the responsibilities of employers to keep your occupation as safe as possible. When the rules and guidelines set forth by OSHA to ensure employee safety are not followed, then there are consequences that can be imposed on the employer.
What OSHA Workplace Standards and Changes Should You Know About?
The standards that OSHA defines and regulates can vary according to the industry and workplace environment, though many are the same throughout all occupations. Occasionally, changes are made to these regulations and standards to ensure that safety standards are kept up to date with evolving industries and workplace environments. The last changes were made in 2011, and further changes will go into effect this year. For example, in work environments where hearing loss is possible, there are new standards for establishing whether or not such hearing loss is, in fact, related to the occupation. Furthermore, as medical standards for lung functioning tests have evolved, so too are the tests required by OSHA.
Then, there are some occupations which require protective equipment to be worn by employees, and there will be new regulations ensuring that this equipment is used when it is needed and that it fits the employee as it should for maximum protection. Some occupations that require the use of lifelines and lanyards will be further regulated for the break strength of such tools. Finally, there will be new standards for excavation sites that involve loose soil or loose rocks that pose a hazard to the workers on site. These are just a few of the changes that are being proposed by OSHA for implementation later this year.
If you are concerned about how the new OSHA standards may impact your own employment environment, contact The Law Office of John B. Jackson to learn more and get your questions answered. We are here to help you to understand your rights and options when it comes to being safe at work and pursuing benefits when workplace accidents occur.
How Do the OSHA Guidelines Impact Those Who Are Injured on the Job in Georgia?
Workers’ compensation in Georgia and elsewhere is a no fault system. This means that it doesn’t matter how your workplace accident or injury occurred; you will covered by workers’ compensation if it happened in the course of work related tasks or duties. Having said that, if an employer does not follow OSHA guidelines, then you may have more than a workers’ compensation claim. You may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against an employer who is found to be negligent in following OSHA standards and rules. You can learn more about this by contacting a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney as soon as you can after your workplace injury. It never hurts to seek a free consultation when you want to learn more.
What Happens When OSHA Guidelines are Not Followed?
A good example of what can happen when an employer fails to adhere to OSHA guidelines can be found in the Georgia recycling company that was found to be lacking in their safety procedures. The company was not properly protecting petroleum gas tanks, was not keeping nameplates in legible conditions, failed to implement plans to protect hearing, failed to implement protocol for securing and shutting down machinery, and failed to property store or handle liquid petroleum. They even failed to report an amputation within the given timeframe of 24 hours. All of these violations (and more) put their employees at increased risk of work related accidents and injuries. What did OSHA do about these safety violations? They fined the company for about $300K. Further, anyone who was injured due to these violations would have a valid claim against the company, beyond workers’ compensation benefits.
What Do You Do If You Are Injured At Work Due to OSHA Violations?
If you’ve been injured on the job in Georgia, you should contact a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney like those at The Law Office of John B. Jackson. This is true in any case where a workplace injury has occurred, because you need to be informed of your rights and responsibilities and ensure that you take all of the necessary steps to pursue your claim. You also want to make sure that your rights are protected and that you are not unfairly treated. However, in situations where OSHA guidelines have been ignored and violations are present on the part of your employer, it is especially important to seek the advice of a workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia. We’re here to help you every step of the way, so give us a call to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Georgia workers’ comp lawyer.