A Pennsylvania Workers' Comp Attorney Discusses How Safety Violations Can Lead to Injury
Workers are hurt on the job every year, suffering injuries that prevent them from returning to work for some time, resulting in a loss of income. Meanwhile, medical expenses for treating their injuries add up fast. In Pennsylvania, injured workers can file for Workers’ Compensation benefits to help them get through this difficult time.
According to attorney Kyle Stelmack, “Employers have a responsibility to help keep workers safe by following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. These standards address workplace conditions, equipment, and training to help protect workers from injury and illness.”
When there’s been an accident or a report of possible hazardous conditions, OSHA conducts a workplace inspection. If violations of standards are found, the agency will issue a citation and propose fines.
According to Safety + Health, these are OSHA's Top 10 Most Cited Violations of Fiscal Year 2021:
- Fall Protection, General Requirements (5,271 violations): When workers have to do their jobs high above the ground, employers are required to provide fall protection systems. These may include guardrails, safety nets, and the use of harnesses.
- Respiratory Protection (2,521 violations): Some workers are exposed to harmful dust, smoke, gas, and chemical vapors. Employers are required to provide respiratory protection that prevents workers from breathing in these substances.
- Ladders (2,018 violations): Employers must provide workers with ladders that are appropriate, safe, and that meet specific load requirements.
- Scaffolding (1,943 violations): Scaffolding for workers must be designed and constructed in accordance with all safety requirements.
- Hazard Communication (1,939 violations): Workers must be provided with information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace through the use of labels, safety data sheets, and employee training.
- Lockout/Tagout (1,670 violations): Steps must be taken to protect workers during the service and maintenance of machines and equipment that can release hazardous energy (electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical).
- Fall Protection, Training Requirements (1,660 violations): Workers must be trained on the proper use of fall protection systems.
- Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment, Eye and Face Protection (1,451 violations): Workers must be provided with eye and face protection to protect them from flying particles, liquid chemicals, gases or vapors, and other hazards.
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1,404 violations): All safety requirements must be met for the use of industrial trucks (examples: forklifts, tractors, and platform lift trucks).
- Machine Guarding (1,105 violations): Machine guarding must be provided to protect workers from injury. Examples of guarding methods include barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, and electronic safety devices.
Injured Workers Have Legal Rights
“Safety standards get overlooked when employers try to cut corners or are in a rush to get a project done,” says attorney Mary Anne Lucas. “When something goes wrong and there’s an accident, hardworking men and women are the ones who pay the price.”
At O’Malley & Langan, we know how much an injury can impact employees and their loved ones. We also understand the obstacles workers face when trying to file a Workers’ Compensation claim:
- Employers and insurance companies dispute the facts and/or question the severity of injuries.
- Claims are denied.
- Workers are pressured to return to work when they haven’t fully recovered.
- A reduction in income creates financial stress for the claimant
- The Workers' Comp process is confusing and frustrating.
At the Law Offices of O’Malley & Langan, our Workers’ Compensation lawyers have been fighting for injured workers in northeastern Pennsylvania for decades. If you’ve been hurt on the job, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Scranton, Pittston, and Towanda.