Workplace Safety & Workers’ Rights

In 2016, according to the U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. This translates to a rate of 2.9 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers annually.

As a personal injury lawyers, we do see cases where workers are seriously injured or killed while on the job. However, most workplace accidents and injuries are not catastrophic and don’t make news headlines.  But, that doesn’t diminish the fact that these are real accidents with real injuries.  Oftentimes these types of injuries (ex. soft tissue injuries to the back or neck) have persistent, nagging symptoms that can require extended time off work for doctor visits, surgeries, and physical/occupational therapy.

We’d like to take this opportunity to talk about your rights regarding workplace safety and the steps you should take if you are injured on the job.

What is a workplace accident?

A work accident, workplace accident, occupational accident, or accident at work is a discrete occurrence in the course of work leading to physical or mental occupational injury. The phrase “in the course of work” can include work-related accidents happening on company property, off the company’s premises, and can include accidents caused by third parties.

Your right to a safe workplace.

The most important thing to remember is you have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers.

The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or if they believe there are serious hazards present.

Workers’ rights under the OSH Act

To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA provides workers with the right to:

  • Ask OSHA to inspect their workplace;
  • Use their rights under the law without retaliation and discrimination;
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language you can understand;
  • Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace;
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses;
  • Get copies of their medical records.

What should I do if I’ve been injured on the job?

  1. Report your injury immediately to your employer or supervisor.
  2. Get medical attention.
  3. Educate yourself regarding Workers’ Compensation benefits.
  4. Speak to an attorney right away if your Workers’ Compensation benefits are denied.

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.

Next Up: Employer’s responsibility under OSH Act and Workers’ Compensation benefits

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