Numerous U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) agencies are tasked with ensuring the enforcement of laws that were put in effect for the safety of workers, i.e. to prevent them from risking their health while working. However, several companies across the country still ignore the safety precautions and push their workforce beyond their capabilities, resulting in injuries.
It’s a no-brainer that whenever a worker gets injured while on duty, they should be compensated. Repeated violations of workplace safety can call for a Class Action Lawsuit or other grave consequences.
Before we discuss what workers should know about workplace safety and health, let’s take a look at some stats concerning workplace injuries and recurring safety violations.
Important Workplace Injury Facts & Statistics
- According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a worker sustains an injury on the job every seven seconds.
- As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more people working in the health care and social assistance sectors get injured than the workers in other sectors do.
- In 2019, Alaska, Arizona, and California were the states that recorded the most non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses.
- Workers who are between 55 and 64 years old are likely to miss more time due to an injury (approximately 14 days) than workers aged between 16 and 24 (roughly 5 days).
- Sprains, Strains & Tears were found to be the most common non-fatal workplace injuries.
Most Frequent Workplace Safety Violations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps tabs on the workplace safety violations that are committed by employers most frequently. Among these are:
- Lack of Fall Protection on Construction Sites. Uneven surfaces, unsafe railings, and obstructions can result in non-fatal and fatal falls.
- Insufficient Respiratory Protection to workers in direct contact with hazardous fumes/particulates.
- The absence of protective gear and machine guards prompts machine-related accidents.
- Use of defective ladders on site.
- Warehouse accidents caused by industrial trucks and forklifts are pretty common too.
Workers’ Compensation & Rights: What the Injured Workers Need to Know!
Before exercising their right to file a claim and receive compensation for their injuries, workers should ask themselves if they practiced the safety precautions to their fullest; Because making sure of this can make their claims more credible.
After making sure that all of their bases are covered, here’s how a worker who sustained an injury while working, should proceed:
- Report the Injury at their Earliest
First of all, injured employees should consider reaching out to their employer(s) to inform them of their injury. However, this must be done as soon as possible. Each state demands the employees report their injuries within a specific timeframe. In New York, an employee should notify their employer(s) of their injury within 30 days of sustaining it. But in Colorado, the same should be done within four business days.
- Eradicate the Fear of Losing their Job
Injured workers often fail to report their injuries to receive compensation due to the fear of losing their jobs or getting demoted. If you are an employee, you should know that every state has laws and regulations in place that prohibit a company from punishing its workforce for requesting compensation for injuries sustained due to workplace safety violations.
- Understand the Difference in Compensation Laws per State
If you are a resident of California, it’s illogical for you to expect the exact same Workers’ Compensation as your friend in another state received. Different states follow different workers’ compensation procedures. For example, not every state gives injured workers the free will to choose their own healthcare providers.
So, it’s crucial for an employee to jot down the compensation benefits that they can avail within their state.
- Rope in a Work Injury Lawyer
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that certain employers take advantage of their employees’ lack of knowledge regarding workplace safety violations and compensation. This makes it easier for them to deny workers’ injury claims without making it seem wrong. This is why workers are strongly advised to discuss their case with a work injury lawyer. At the end of the day, what matters is that the injured workers get compensated without compromising their job security.
The role of employees in keeping their company afloat can’t be put into words. So, they should know their worth and feel free to receive compensation for the injuries they suffered while working.
One thing that should be kept in mind is that workers’ compensation just covers the costs required to treat the injuries suffered on the job. It is, in no way, similar to employer-sponsored health insurance that allows the employees to schedule routine checkups and tests.