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Workplace accidents are hard to prevent by OSHA

Employees are often forced to trust in the companies who hire them regarding their safety in their work environment. Particular industries that are known for being more dangerous are no exception. When a workplace accident occurs, it is arguably reassuring for the victim to know that at least everything had been done to prevent it from occurring.

Work accidents can happen in any environment, whether dangerous conditions exist or not. However, after any accident, it can be crucial to determine if something could have been done to avoid the accident or if there is any way to prevent future incidences. Falling debris, negligent operating of machinery, a trench collapse, or slip-and-fall accidents would all likely result in an investigation from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration when an employee is injured. 

Unfortunately, OSHA recently revealed its limited ability to prevent accidents in the workplace due to restricted resources of both staff and funding. Despite several million dollars in budget allotted by Congress, workers in the Cincinnati-area office near Franklin, Ohio, say they are unable to inspect many businesses before serious accidents can occur.

Instead, OSHA must focus on workplaces where violations or accidents have already happened, and often overlook other potentially dangerous work environments in the process – unless an employee has reported a serious health or safety issue. Ultimately OSHA investigates the aftermath of more workplace accidents than it than can conduct inspections to prevent them.

This is particularly difficult to accept when tragic events take place. An Ohio company where a man was killed on the job last year was cited after the fact for 10 serious violations, including failing to provide necessary equipment and failure to train workers on procedures.

While reports indicate that occupational illnesses and injuries decreased by about 30 percent and fatal work-related injuries by about 20 percent from 2003 to 2012, workplace accidents continue overall. If you have been injured from a scaffolding fall, mine collapse or any other problematic incident on the job, it is advisable to seek the advice of a legal professional who can explain your rights and options.

Source: Dayton Daily News, "OSHA focuses more on accident response, hazards than prevention," Chelsey Levingston, July 9, 2014

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