No one should have to worry about unreasonably dangerous work conditions causing them harm. Yes, there are various industries that pose a higher risk to workers, but that does not mean the employee should be unprotected. Unfortunately, there are many accidents that can be caused by dangerous work conditions. Here, we want to discuss the employer’s responsibility in these cases and what you should do if you are injured due to a dangerous workplace condition.
Employer’s Responsibility to Provide a Safe Workplace
Employers are required to provide a workplace that is free from any known health or safety hazards. Employers must comply with various sets of safety standards, regulations, and rules set forth by their state regulatory bodies as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Some of the most basic requirements that employers have concerning workplace conditions include:
- Prominently displaying employees’ rights with the official OSHA poster that describes the rights and responsibilities under the law.
- Informing workers about various chemical hazards through training, color-coded systems, alarms, labels, and more.
- Keeping accurate records of all work-related injuries and illnesses
- Providing safety training to employees in the language and vocabulary they will understand.
- Performing various tests in the workplace, including air sampling, as required by regulatory agencies.
- Providing employees with proper personal protective equipment.
- Providing hearing exams or other tests as required by regulatory bodies.
It is important to note that an employer cannot retaliate against a worker for exercising their rights under the law, including an employee requesting proper safety equipment, complaining about an unsafe work condition, or reporting an injury.
What To Do if Your Employer Doesn’t Follow Safety Laws and Regulations
If there is an unsafe work condition that poses an immediate danger to you, then you have the right to refuse to work if you have a reasonable and good faith belief that the dangerous condition in the workplace poses an immediate threat to your health. A worker has the right to refuse to return to their duties until the employer eliminates the hazard or investigates the incident and determines that there is no immediate danger.
If a hazardous workplace condition does not create an immediate danger, that does not mean that no action should be taken. An employee should inform their employer of the issue in writing, and if the employer fails to correct the condition, the employee can file a complaint with the appropriate state regulatory body or OSHA.
Again, federal and state law prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for reporting a suspected safety violation. This means that the employee cannot be fired, demoted, or receive reduced pay because they filed a complaint.
What Should You Do If Unsafe Work Conditions Caused Your Accident?
If you have been injured at work due to an unsafe workplace condition, you should speak to a Newnan workers compensation attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will help you explore every option available to you, including making a formal complaint with state regulatory agencies or OSHA. If you are injured on the job due to an unsafe work condition, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits whether or not the incident is investigated by state or federal agencies. Workers’ compensation claims are considered “no-fault,” so you should receive coverage regardless of which party caused the incident.
In general, most employees cannot sue their employer after sustaining a workplace injury. They will receive compensation for their medical bills and lost wages through workers’ compensation benefits, but will generally not be able to secure compensation for pain and suffering. However, if your injury was caused due to the outrageously negligent or intentional actions of the employer, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury. This would allow for additional types of compensation to be paid on your behalf, including pain and suffering, loss of future income, and more.