Established in 1970, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been protecting employees for decades by enacting regulations that employers must follow to ensure a safe workplace environment. Most Virginia employers are in full compliance with safety rules, but there are some that violate the law. OSHA keeps an annual list of the top workplace safety citations, which reveals that certain violations always rank high.
You do not need to prove that your employer did not comply with safety regulations to recover monetary benefits, but it is wise to work with a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney when filing a claim. It is also helpful to know the top citations handed out by OSHA over the last few years.
- Falls: Regulations on fall protection relate to the types of safety equipment and systems an employer must implement, and their locations in the workplace. Examples include guardrails and safety nets. Other guidelines on falls involve supervision efforts by management to reduce injury-causing accidents. Regardless of these rules, there are around 7,200 citations issued every year for violations.
- Hazard Communication: Employer must maintain a written hazard communication program that contains training and policies on handling hazardous substances in the workplace. This includes environments where such materials are produced, and where they may be imported as part of the production process.
- Scaffolding: When scaffolding is present in the workplace, employers must ensure proper protection from both falls and falling objects. Examples include fall arrest and guardrail systems installed on scaffolding that are 10 feet or more above the lower surface. Despite the clarity of the regulations, OSHA typically issues around 3,300 violations per year.
- Respiratory Protection: In work environments where respirators are necessary to protect employees from serious harm from inhaled substances, OSHA requires employers to implement a written safety plan and worksite-specific rules. Respirator equipment must be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a federal agency tasked with conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness.
- Lockout/Tagout Rules: OSHA regulations require companies to develop, document, and employ procedures to control the release of hazardous energy, which can present severe risks to workers. Dangerous energy is common around electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, chemical, thermal, and related systems. In the event of accidental release, employees in the vicinity can be seriously injured. In the past few years, OSHA has issued an average of around 3,000 citations for violations of lockout/tagout standards.
Discuss Your Claim With a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you should seek legal help right away. An attorney can help you navigate the claims process, especially in dealing with your employer’s insurance company. A lawyer can also represent you if it becomes necessary to take your matter to the next level with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
For more information on your rights and legal options, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC to set up a no-cost case evaluation. A Virginia workers’ compensation attorney can review your case and explain how the claims process works.