Workplace safety is an employer’s responsibility. They are expected to provide adequate and safe equipment, properly install safety features, promote and enforce safety procedures, and ensure employees are trained to work in a safe manner. When an employer fails to live up to these standards a serious accident can occur, causing serious injuries to workers. OSHA works to hold these employers accountable, and it has recently fined several companies, including one based in Ohio, for unsafe working conditions.
OSHA has doled out more than $280,000 in fines to several contractors working together to build a power plant in New Hampshire. Reports indicate workers were exposed to cave-ins, scaffold collapses, lead, and electrocution hazards. Amongst those fined was Ohio-based Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co., which OSHA said was operating cranes on unstable ground, failing to train workers to properly install fall protection systems, and was not keeping working areas free of debris.
Though no workers were injured in these working conditions, this instance highlights the dangers posed by unsafe working conditions, which are found all too often throughout Ohio. When workplace accidents leave a worker injured, he may need medical benefits and supplemental income until he can get back to work. Workers’ compensation should provide these benefits to workers who are injured in job-related accidents, but sometimes these claims are denied based on skepticism of what caused the accident, whether the worker was within his scope of employment, and where the worker’s injury emanated from.
A denial should not put an injured worker down and out. Instead, it should drive him to fight for what is rightfully his. An attorney can be extremely beneficial in this fight and can help the worker challenge that denial. By collecting evidence including accident reports, OSHA reports, and witness testimony, an attorney can fight to show the worker’s injuries stemmed from an accident that took place while the worker was within his scope of employment.
When the worker receives the workers’ compensation or disability benefits he deserves, he may be able to get the medical care he needs. His wages may also be accounted for, thus helping him pay the bills and maintain his standard of living.
Employers owe their employees a safe work environment. When employers fail to live up to that promise, all legal options should be considered.
Source: The Washington Post, “OSHA proposes $280K in fines at Berlin power plant; companies in OH, PA, VA, Maine also cited,” Oct. 21, 2013