File for Workers’ Compensation with the Help of a Miami or Fort Lauderdale OSHA Attorney
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), employers in Florida are subject to numerous workplace health and safety requirements. Unfortunately, while compliance with these requirements is mandatory for covered employers, many companies fail to take the steps necessary to protect their employees. If you got injured or sick on the job because of an OSHA violation, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation, and you should speak with a Fort Lauderdale or Miami OSHA lawyer about your legal rights.
Workers’ Compensation Claims for Violations of OSHA Requirements
Violations of OSHA requirements are extremely common. As a result, many employees suffer job-related injuries and illnesses that could—and should—have been avoided. When this happens, employers deserve to be held accountable, and, in most cases, this involves filing a workers’ compensation claim and going through the workers’ compensation process.
Technically, employees do not need proof that their employer violated the law to file a workers’ compensation claim. This is because workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system in Florida. If you are a covered employee and you got injured or sick at work for almost any reason, you can—and should—file a claim for benefits.
Even so, if you have been injured or gotten sick on the job, it can be helpful to know if your employer has violated any OSHA requirements. While injured and sick workers will have “no-fault” workers’ compensation claims in most cases, there are some exceptions. Additionally, if your employer is violating the law, working with a Fort Lauderdale OSHA attorney to file a complaint could help protect you and your coworkers in the future.
Common OSHA Violations
OSHA imposes numerous health and safety requirements for employers. These requirements address all aspects of the work environment, from general requirements regarding things like air quality and ventilation to specific requirements regarding things like forklifts, ladders, and scaffolding.
While employers frequently violate all types of OSHA requirements, some violations are more common than others. For example, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 10 of the most common OSHA violations are:
1. Inadequate Fall Protection
Inadequate fall protection is a leading cause of serious job-related injuries. From office buildings to hospitals and from warehouses to construction sites, all stairways and balconies should be protected with appropriate railings, and curbs and other changes in elevation should be appropriately marked so that they are noticeable to employees.
On construction sites, employers are subject to other OSHA requirements as well. For example, to protect their employees from serious and fatal falls, construction companies and other employers must:
- Ensure that temporary walking surfaces are stable and install temporary guardrails as necessary
- Cover all openings in floors and roofs where employees are working
- Provide access to harnesses and other necessary safety equipment
- Provide access to safe ladders and scaffolding
- Inspect safety equipment, ladders, and scaffolding to ensure that they are in good working condition
2. Inadequate Respiratory Protection
As the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration explains, “[r]espirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dust, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays.” Employees may need respiratory protection in a variety of work environments, and failure to provide employees with this protection can lead to a wide range of ailments. Common OSHA violations related to respiratory protection include both providing inadequate protection (i.e., providing face coverings instead of respirators) and failing to provide any protection at all.
3. Ladder Safety Failures
OSHA requirements regarding ladder safety are designed to protect construction workers, utility workers, service providers, and a wide range of other employees. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has adopted specific requirements for extension ladders, A-frame ladders, stepladders, and job-made wooden ladders, and employers are supposed to provide their employees with the tools and equipment they need to stay safe on the job. Providing ladders that are too tall or too short, providing ladders that have been poorly maintained, and providing portable ladders when fixed ladders are necessary are all common violations for which a Fort Lauderdale OSHA attorney can help injured workers seek financial compensation.
4. Inadequate Hazard Communication
Typically, inadequate hazard communication involves failing to provide employees with information about the risks associated with dangerous chemicals and other harmful substances. These OSHA violations present serious risks—including risks for fatal illnesses and injuries in some cases. Along with ensuring that containers of hazardous substances are properly labeled, employers must provide their employees with access to safety data sheets, training materials, and other resources as well.
5. Scaffolding Safety Failures
The OSHA requirements for scaffolding are designed to protect employees who work at heights on construction sites, cleaning windows, and in other high-risk occupations. These requirements apply not only to the design and assembly of scaffolds but to scaffolding inspections and safety equipment for employees who work on scaffolding as well. Data from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration show that scaffolding accidents are alarmingly common, and many workers who work on scaffolding will find themselves in need of an experienced Miami OSHA lawyer.
6. Inadequate Fall Protection Training
Along with inadequate fall protection, inadequate fall protection training is a common OSHA violation as well. Even though the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published a Fall Prevention Training Guide, it is clear that many employers simply choose not to provide this training to their employees. Falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries, and employees who get injured in falls should hire a Fort Lauderdale OSHA attorney to help them file for workers’ compensation benefits.
7. Failure to Control Hazardous Energy
Electrocutions are also common causes of injuries on the job. Here too, despite clear OSHA requirements, employers routinely fail to take the steps necessary to control hazardous energy sources on their job sites. This is true even though the necessary steps are simple and inexpensive—and taking them could prevent numerous workplace injuries each year.
8. Failure to Provide Adequate Eye and Face Protection
From construction to healthcare, eye and face protection are essential for employees in many types of occupations. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “[t]housands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection,” and “[e]ye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants, and hazards.”
9. Powered Industrial Truck (i.e., Forklift) Safety Failures
Inadequate forklift maintenance and unsafe forklift operation can be dangerous for operators and other workers in their vicinity. The OSHA requirements for powered industrial trucks address both of these issues, yet, serious and fatal accidents remain far too common. Workers’ compensation covers forklift accidents regardless of their cause (with a few exceptions), and if you have been injured in one of these accidents, you should consult with a Miami OSHA lawyer promptly.
10. Machinery Safety Failures
Employees who work with machinery need to be able to trust that their employers’ machines are safe for use. But what if they aren’t? Inadequate maintenance, inadequate machine guarding, and various other OSHA violations frequently lead to serious job-related injuries. Employees who suffer injuries due to machinery safety failures will often be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits—and this is true regardless of whether they can prove that their employer’s negligence is to blame.
What If Another Company Violates OSHA Requirements?
In most cases, employers’ violations of OSHA requirements put their own employees at risk. But what if you were injured as a result of an OSHA violation committed by another company?
This scenario can arise in several circumstances. For example, multiple companies will often have employees working on job sites at the same time. If any one of these companies violates an OSHA requirement, this can put all workers on the jobsite at risk.
Since workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system in Florida, injured employees can file claims regardless of who is responsible for their injuries (with a few exceptions). This means that if you got injured as a result of another company’s OSHA violation, you can still file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
But, on top of filing for workers’ compensation, you may be able to hire a Fort Lauderdale OSHA attorney to help you seek additional compensation in this scenario as well. If your attorney can prove that an OSHA violation caused your injury, you may be entitled to full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Speak with a Fort Lauderdale or Miami OSHA Lawyer in Confidence
Understanding your legal rights after suffering an injury caused by an OSHA violation can be challenging. Our lawyers can explain everything you need to know, and we can use our experience to fight for the financial compensation you deserve. To speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale or Miami OSHA lawyer in confidence, call 954-530-7314 or request a free consultation online now.