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Oregon OSHA releases top workplace safety violations of 2013

Recently, Oregon's state OSHA department released its 2013 list of the top 10 most-cited safety violations in Oregon workplaces.
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    February 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Recently, Oregon's state OSHA department released its 2013 list of the top 10 most-cited safety violations in Oregon workplaces. While some entries on this list were likely anticipated - such as violations related to fall protection - others evoked a little more surprise.

For instance, in its February-March 2014 newsletter, Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood expressed his disappointment in the fact that the No. 1 cited safety violation in 2013 is related to safety committees and safety meeting violations - especially given that safety committee rules have been in place for more than 20 years and that Oregon OSHA provides supporting resources and training.

Second on the list are violations of hazard communication rules, which require employers to properly assess, store and label hazardous chemicals, followed closely by fall protection citations.

Importantly, while violations related to fall protection are third on the list, they continue to be the most-cited violation in Oregon's construction industry. Indeed, there were 413 fall protection citations in 2013 on Oregon work sites, with an average first-time penalty of more than $1,000. These violations ranged from improper ladder use to the failure to use proper protection on rooftops.

The remaining seven safety citations in Oregon OSHA's 2013 top 10 list include:
- Electrical, wiring violations
- Fire extinguisher violations
- Machine guarding violations
- Powered industrial truck violations
- Lockout/tagout violations
- Eyewash station violations
- Respiratory protection violations

The importance of workers' compensation in Oregon

While the efforts by Oregon OSHA are certainly a promising first step in making workplaces safer, the fact that violations continue to occur merely illustrates just how far workplace accidents are from being a thing of the past. In reality, this is why Oregon workers' compensation laws are so very important.

Essentially, workers' compensation benefits are available to any worker who suffers any job-related injury. These benefits may include compensation to cover wage loss as well as possible medical care and treatment. Additionally, in some instances an injured worker may still be eligible for benefits even if he or she did not suffer the injured while on the clock - such as when conducting job-related errands after work - although each situation must be evaluated independently.

If the workplace accident was the fault of someone other than the worker's employer or co-employees, not only can the injured worker receive workers' compensation benefits but may be able to recover damages from the negligent person or company that caused or contributed to the injury for losses not covered in workers' compensation law - such as pain and suffering or interference with activities. Examples of these third party cases (the worker is the first party, the employer the second party) would be a general contractor when the injured worker is working for a subcontractor, or the manufacturer of defective tools or equipment.

In Oregon, the employer is generally immune from suit in court for damages, the worker is limited to workers compensation benefits. However, there are rare exceptions when an employer may be sued directly by an employee for an on the job injury, in addition to receiving workers compensation benefits.

Consequently, if you or a loved one has suffered an on-the-job injury and believe you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, it is often best to consult with a skilled workers' compensation attorney. An experienced attorney can help review the circumstances of you workplace accident and assist in determining what your right and options may be given your situation.

Article provided by The Law Offices of Hansen Malagon
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