February 22, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- OSHA to focus inspections on high-risk workplaces
Article provided by Taradash Law Firm
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Everyone deserves to feel safe at work. To that end, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues comprehensive safety guidelines that employers are supposed to follow. Unfortunately, employers do not always abide by these rules, putting their employees at significant risk of work-related injuries and occupational diseases.
In an attempt to address this problem, OSHA regularly conducts compliance checks to ensure that workplaces are operating in accordance with safety regulations. In early January, 2013, the agency announced its plan to target inspections at workplaces with the highest rates of injury and illness.
The plan is part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting program. It focuses on non-construction workplaces that have 20 or more employees and a high risk of injury. The agency hopes that making proactive efforts to address safety at high-risk workplaces it can protect workers from falling victim to work-related injuries and illnesses.
Random inspections help
OSHA's focus is certainly well-placed. While some employers might argue that complying with federal safety regulations is costly and burdensome -- and therefore injurious to job growth -- evidence shows that random inspections go a long way toward making workplaces safer. What's more, evidence also demonstrates that these inspections are not as burdensome as some employers might claim.
These findings were part of a study conducted by an environmental management expert at the Harvard Business School. In the study, he found that workplaces that were subjected to random inspections experienced an approximately 9 percent reduction in work-related accidents in the four years after the date of the inspection. In addition, he found that the total cost associated with workplace injuries at the inspected workplaces declined by 26 percent during the same period.
Next, the researcher used financial data from Standard & Poor's to assess the economic impact of the random inspections. He found that the inspected workplaces experienced no decline in employment, earnings or sales as a result of the inspection.
Help for injured workers
Of course, OSHA does not have the time or resources to inspect every business. Even if it did, a comprehensive inspection scheme cannot prevent every single work injury or occupational disease.
When a work-related injury or illness does happen, it is important for the injured worker to take steps to protect his or her rights. After a work accident, workers' compensation will provide benefits for medical care and replacement of lost wages. In some cases, injured workers may also be eligible for permanent or temporary disability benefits.
Workers' compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that injured workers do not need to show that their employer violated safety rules or was otherwise negligent. In addition, injured workers are eligible for benefits even if they were partially at fault for causing the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work accident, talk to an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can help you seek benefits.---
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