Chicago OSHA Violation Injury Lawyers
The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) sets strict rules and guidelines that govern how a number of different workplaces are meant to operate. The purpose of these rules is to keep workers safe and minimize not only serious injuries and fatalities, but also the loss of earnings and income for businesses and workers alike. When these rules are followed, the likelihood of serious accidents and injuries at the workplace decreases significantly. When they are not followed, however, then injuries occur and companies may be liable for damages due to such violations.
If you or someone you know has been injured at the workplace due to an OSHA violation, this may help bolster your claim for workers' compensation. Call the experienced Chicago OSHA violation lawyers of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today at (800) 996-4824. We can discuss your case and talk about your options.
What are OSHA Violations?
OSHA violations typically refer to anything that violates the standards and regulations set forth by OSHA and the Illinois Department of Labor. Some of these violations are relatively minor and can be fixed with minimal effort to avoid a potential fine. Other violations are far more severe and can result in very serious fines or even criminal proceedings against an employer for reckless endangerment or other offenses. All such violations typically mean a workplace is not as safe as it should be, and therefore should be fixed immediately.
Types of Violations
When an OSHA inspector comes to a business or worksite, they typically look to ensure that numerous policies and laws are being followed properly. When a violation is found, the inspector usually notes the nature of it, how it can be corrected, and often sets a date by which the corrective measures must be met or else additional fines or penalties may occur. The inspector will usually cite a violation as one of four types:
- Willful - Willful violations occur when an employer knowingly fails to comply with a requirement or acts with indifference to the safety of employees.
- Serious - These violations refer to those that can directly cause an accident or illness that is likely to result in death or serious physical injury for workers. It can include things such as improperly used or secured machinery, violations of proper use of toxic materials, and improper training for employees.
- Repeated - Repeated violations are noted when an employer has been cited for the same issue more than once within five years.
- Other-Than-Serious - These violations are likely to result in injury or illness, but not ones that typically can cause death or physical dismemberment.
Who is Responsible for OSHA Violations?
While employees are expected to comply with any and all appropriate OSHA regulations, ultimately it is the responsibility of an employer to see that they are properly followed. The employer needs to make sure worksites are safe and free of hazards or toxic substances, and that proper containment and handling policies are followed. If the employer sees an employee not following necessary regulations, and fails to act in a proper way, then that employer might ultimately be responsible for injuries that result from such actions.
Penalties for Violating OSHA Regulations
Minor infractions might not warrant an immediate fine, but instead might simply require quick and appropriate action to correct. More severe violations can result in fines for the employer, often becoming larger due to failure to correct a situation or if the issue was particularly serious. In some instances, when OSHA violations occur, it may open an employer up to criminal or civil action against the company or owner of a business.
When you go to work, you assume that your employer is doing everything possible to keep you safe and healthy in the workplace. Sometimes, however, that is not true. Negligence that occurs during the work day may lead to minor injuries such as those that result from slips and falls, serious life-changing illnesses due to exposure to toxic substances, or even death. In addition to workers compensation protection under the law, when the negligence of another party results in injury or death, under some limited circumstances a civil lawsuit may also be filed against some parties.
What is Employer Negligence?
Negligence, in general, refers to situations in which a person is aware of a dangerous hazard or situation and fails to act in a reasonable manner in order to correct or repair that situation. When such negligence is directly responsible for another person's injury or illness, then there is sometimes a basis for a civil lawsuit in order to make sure that person is held liable for his or her actions.
Employer negligence, therefore, is when an employer is aware that a situation might cause illness or injury to one or more employees but fails to properly act in order to prevent it. This can include things such as an employer seeing that equipment is damaged or improperly maintained, employers failing to properly train employees in using dangerous machines or substances, or an employer allowing an intoxicated or overly tired employee to operate heavy machinery.
OSHA Violations and Employer Negligence
While workers compensation liability does not depend upon a violation of OSHA rules and standards, there are situations where they can overlap. For example, there are strict OSHA policies regarding the containment, handling, and training of employees with regard to toxic substances and chemicals. If an employer fails to properly train an employee and does not provide adequate safety gear, that failure may be a clear OSHA violation. In that instance, the violation could also be described as employer negligence, and a report from an OSHA inspector can confirm the existence of such a violation.
OSHA Violations are Serious
If you see any violations at your workplace, notify a manager or supervisor immediately so that proper action can be taken to rectify the situation. Such violations can result in serious injury, amputations, and even death. If you or a loved one has suffered due to an OSHA violation, call the experienced Chicago injury lawyers of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today at (800) 996-4824 to discuss your case and talk about your options.