Last week we published part one of a two part series on Workers’ Rights. The first post focused on the definition of a workplace accident, the OSH Act and workers’ rights under the OSH Act. This post focuses on employers’ responsibilities under the OSH Act, Workers’ Compensation insurance, and what you should do if you are injured on the job.
Employer Responsibilities under the OSH Act
Employers must provide their employees with a workplace that does not have serious hazards. Additionally, they must follow all relevant OSHA safety and health standards.
- Find and correct safety and health problems.
- Try to eliminate or reduce hazards first by making changes to working conditions rather than just relying on various types of personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc.)
- Inform employees about hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems, chemical information sheets and other methods.
- Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling required by some OSHA standards.
- Provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards.
- Post OSHA citations, injury and illness data, and the OSHA poster in the workplace where workers will see them.
- Notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace incident in which there is a death or when three or more workers go to a hospital.
- Not discriminate or retaliate against a worker for using their rights under the law.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance – Who Carries It and Who Is Covered?
In the state of Missouri, every employer with five or more employees must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. In Missouri, construction industry employers that erect, demolish, alter, or repair improvements are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance if they have one or more employees. Railroad, postal and maritime workers are covered by federal laws, not by the Missouri Workers’ Compensation law.
What should I do if I’ve been injured on the job?
1. Report your injury immediately to your employer or supervisor. Failure to report your injury to your employer within 30 days may jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Notify your employer in writing – include date, time and place of the injury, the nature of the injury and the name and address of the person injured. Keep a copy of the written notice for your records.
2. Get medical attention. Your employer is required to provide the medical treatment and care to cure and relieve you of the effects of the injury. This includes all costs for authorized medical treatment, prescriptions, and medical devices. There is no deductible and all costs are paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Missouri law states that the employer has the right to select the treating doctor for any workers’ compensation cases. Be aware that if you opt to see a different doctor, the employer and its insurance company may not have to pay your bills.
3. Educate yourself regarding additional benefits. In addition to medical benefits, you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits and permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits. Upon the death of a worker who has suffered a compensable work injury, certain surviving individuals may be entitled to weekly benefits from the employer/insurer, as well as funeral expenses.
4. Speak to an attorney right away if your workers’ compensation benefits are denied or if your benefits are discontinued before you are fully recovered. Workers’ compensation benefits and the laws surrounding them can be extremely confusing. It is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the system.
At Casey & Devoti, we know the intricate details of workers’ compensation laws in both Missouri and Illinois. We have successfully tried cases for clients whose benefits were denied or cut-off prior to full recovery. We have the expertise and knowledge to stand up to large insurance companies and fight for the benefits and compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job in Missouri or Illinois, please call us for a free initial consultation: (314) 421-0763.