Workers entitled to a reasonable expectation of safety during the workday. Employees entrust that employers take the necessary steps to prevent workplace injuries. Employers are required to follow a set of safety guidelines. Failure to take proper safety precautions can result in workplace injuries as well as violations for the employer.
Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 to ensure employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The act also established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which ensures employers enforce required safety guidelines. Since OSHA’s establishment, the number of fatal workplace injuries decreased from 38 per day in 1970 to 13 per day in 2015, per OSHA.
Employers who fail to meet OSHA’s safety guidelines can be fined for committing an OSHA violation. Violating OSHA’s guidelines can result not only in a monetary fine, but serious-even fatal workplace injuries.
Workers in certain industries may be more likely to suffer a fatal injury due to an employer’s violation of an OSHA standard. Per OSHA, the construction industry is one of the deadliest industries. Construction accident fatalities account for 21.4% (or 1 out of 5) of private industry worker fatalities in 2015.
Workplace injuries caused by construction accidents include falls, electrocutions, getting struck by an object, and getting caught in or between equipment.
The most frequently violated OSHA standard is enforcing proper fall protection according to a 2016 report. During 2015, fall-related injuries were the cause of 38.8% of all construction industry deaths. To prevent fatal fall injuries, the administration requires employers to set up safety measures to prevent workers from falling off overhead platforms, elevated workstations or holes in floors or walls.
OSHA performs routine inspections and issues a violation to employers that fail to meet the required fall protection standards. An OSHA fall protection violation means that the violation was discovered in time. Unfortunately, in some cases the violation is not discovered until a workplace injury occurs due to improper fall protection.
The administration requires that employers take necessary steps to prevent workplace injuries. When an injury occurs because the company failed to meet OSHA standards, the company must be held responsible. An OSHA violation is not enough. The injured employee may be eligible to seek compensation for medical bills incurred because of construction injuries. Families who lost a loved one in a construction accident may also be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more about employer liability for construction site accidents and workplace injuries.