OSHA & Workplace Rights
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives workers the right to a safe job environment, free from serious and recognizable hazards. Employers must comply with the workplace safety standards and regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). When an entity fails to comply with OSHA standards, it puts the health and lives of its workers at risk. If an employer has committed a violation, the workers’ compensation lawyers at Pulgini & Norton can help employees assert their rights. A knowledgeable Boston workplace rights attorney can diligently represent individuals who were injured on the job or by dangerous workplace conditions.OSHA and Workplace Rights
OSHA investigates claims of unsafe work conditions and may issue citations and penalties for any unsafe practices. It imposes different requirements based on the employer’s industry. The agency has four group standards, which are General Industry, Construction, Maritime, and Agriculture. The standards vary from group to group but are designed to protect employees from a broad range of hazards. They include fall protection, limits on a worker’s exposure to noise, chemicals, and other harmful substances, and provision of safety equipment, such as respirators, at no charge.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause also requires that employers keep their workplaces free from any serious recognized hazards. Entities must comply with this clause even when there is no specific OSHA standard that applies to the particular situation.Employers’ Responsibilities under OSHA
Employers must inform workers about their rights under OSHA, which means that they need to:
- Prominently display their employees’ OSHA rights;
- Maintain a safe work environment that complies with the OSHA standards applicable to their industry;
- Test for, and promptly notify workers of, any workplace hazards;
- Train employees on safety and OSHA rules; and
- Provide employees with reports of OSHA inspections upon request.
If you suspect that your employer has committed a violation, you have the right to take action to minimize your risk of injury. If you are in imminent risk of danger, OSHA gives you the right to stop working immediately. You can file a complaint with the agency and request an inspection of your workplace. You can attend the inspection, speak privately to the inspector about your workplace environment, and review a copy of the inspection report. Your employer cannot retaliate or discriminate against you for reporting a suspected or actual safety violation.
Most individuals in Massachusetts are limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim when they suffer work-related harm. Workers’ compensation provides injured employees with medical and wage benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident or illness. The duration and amount will depend on whether the worker suffered a temporary total disability, a partial disability, or a permanent total disability.
However, if you are hurt on the job because your employer committed an OSHA violation, you may be entitled to receive additional damages. Under Massachusetts workers’ compensation law, if an entity’s willful or serious misconduct harms a worker, he or she may be entitled to double the amount of benefits. You would need to prove that your employer’s misconduct caused your workplace injury. Prior records of OSHA violations can help you establish a claim.Discuss Your Workplace Rights with a Boston Attorney
At Pulgini & Norton, we provide capable and experienced representation in Massachusetts workers’ compensation cases. Our work accident lawyers have collectively represented employees seeking benefits for more than four decades. We understand the complex nature of the state workers’ compensation law, OSHA standards, and the process for seeking the benefits you deserve. Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers can review your injury and assess whether it was the result of an OSHA violation by your employer. Call us today at 781-843-2200, or you can fill out our online form to schedule a consultation. We represent clients in Lowell, Andover, and Weymouth, in addition to other Massachusetts communities.