As a division of the United States Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been ordained by the federal government to regulate and enforce safety standards for workplaces such as construction sites. The agency was created through the Occupational Safety and Health Act, enacted by Congress in 1970 in order to assure safe and healthful working environments for men and women through proper training, education and assistance.
OSHA's mission statement reaffirms the fact that workers in America are entitled to a safe workplace. For this reason, a lengthy and comprehensive body of regulations has been drafted in order to keep employers accountable to their duty of protecting the safety of their employees. OSHA was created to and still does target construction sites and workplaces with similar natures because of their increased risk of danger by the very nature of the work. The standards in OSHA law on construction work address popular issues such as scaffolding, the safe use of cranes and electrical regulations as well as many other more specific matters concerning the work done on construction sites. The goal is to achieve a safe, efficient work environment for construction workers to thrive in.
These standards are not only implemented by OSHA, but also enforced by the agency as well. This is done through the commission of Compliance Safety and Health Officers to carry out periodical inspections of workplaces around the country. Most of these inspections are done without prior notice but they can also be requested by a worker on a site who notices an imminent danger. Inspections may also be conducted subsequent to a high rate of injury or illness at the workplace as well.
OSHA stipulates that it is the duty of the employer not only to provide a reasonably safe work environment for his or her employees but also to provide the necessary training and education required to enforce safety in the use of heavy or specialized work equipment. Failure to do so can result in an injury to the worker and their coworkers, which warrants punitive measures against the employer who failed to provide adequate training.
Proof of OSHA violations that led to an injury can strengthen a claim of workers' compensation or personal injury for the victim. Therefore, workers who were injured by or notice such violations are encouraged to report them to the agency. The agency also protects the rights of workers who blow the whistle on such violations against any punitive measures the employer may try to take against them. According to OSHA standards, employees are able to make reports of unsafe environments without the fear of losing their position with the company. If you were injured because your construction employer violated or failed to comply with relevant OSHA standards, you may be entitled to signification compensation. Additionally, if your injury was doubled by disciplinary action by your employer for reporting those violations, you may be entitled to file a wrongful termination claim. Contact a personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus to learn more about OSHA and how we can help you protect your rights as an injured worker.