When you go to work, you expect to finish out your day and go home safely and without a scratch. Unfortunately, workplace accidents are not uncommon. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 5,250 workers died from work-related injuries in 2018. Even though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) holds employers to high safety standards, workers are still vulnerable to injuries on the job.
Here’s what every worker should know.
Your employer has a responsibility to provide employees with a safe work environment. As per OSHA standard, your employer must:
- Provide a hazard-free workplace and comply with all standards, rules, and regulations outlined by the OSHA Act.
- Inspect workplace conditions to ensure they meet OSHA standards.
- Ensure that employees are provided with safe tools and equipment and that all tools and equipment are adequately maintained.
- Ensure that all employees are aware of potential hazards by posting signs or using warning labels on potential dangers.
- Ensure that all operating procedures are communicated to workers to allow them to follow safety and health mandates.
- Provide safety training in a language that all workers can understand.
- Provide medical examinations as required by OSHA standards.
- Keep required OSHA workplace posters of employee rights and responsibilities in a prominent location for employees to view.
- Report all work-related accidents and injuries to OSHA within 8 hours of the incident.
- Keep all records of work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers with 10 or fewer employees or who are considered a low-hazard industry may not be required to keep this information.
- Provide employees and former employees as well as their representatives with access to the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Form.
- Provide employees and their representatives access to relevant exposure and medical records.
- Provide an OSHA compliance officer with names of employees who are authorized to accompany the compliance offer throughout workplace inspections.
- Do not discriminate against employees who exercise their right to report unsafe conditions or violations of OSHA standards. This is an employee protection under the “Whistleblower Protection Act.”
- Post all OSHA violation citations. Citations are to remain posted until the violation has been corrected. Employers must correct the violations by the deadline noted in the citation document.
Occupations with the Highest Rate of Fatal Injuries
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the following workers made up the majority of fatal occupational injuries in 2018.
- Logging workers
- Fishers and related fishing workers
- Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
- Refuse and recyclable material collectors
- Drivers/sales workers/truck drivers
- Farmers/ranchers and other agricultural managers
- Structural iron and steelworkers
- First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
- First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers
As a group, drivers, sales workers, and truck drivers accounted for the most fatalities at 966. Out of this group, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the most casualties at 831.
Understanding the “Fatal Four”
As mentioned above, working in the construction industry can present many hazards. While any type of accident can happen on a construction site, OSHA has identified the top causes of fatalities in the construction industry, known as “OSHA’s Fatal Four.”
OSHA statistics from 2018 reports that one in five worker deaths were in the construction industry. The “Fatal Four” was responsible for more than half (58.6%) of construction worker deaths in 2018. Here is a breakdown of each:
- Falls - In 2018, falls were the top cause of construction worker deaths (33.5%). This includes falling off of ladders and scaffolding.
- Struck-by - 11.1% of construction workers died due to being struck by a swinging, falling, or misplaced object.
- Electrocution - 8.5% of construction workers were killed as a result of electrocution.
- Caught-In - 5.5% of construction workers were killed due to being caught-in, crushed by equipment objects, or collapsing structures.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, here are some steps to take when protecting your legal rights:
- Seek medical attention immediately - Tending to your injuries is of the utmost importance. Even if you think you may not be seriously injured, it’s best to get checked out after an accident. Some injuries may not show symptoms right away, such as concussion or internal injuries. Be sure to keep all medical documentation in a safe place should you need to file a work injury claim.
- File an accident report with your employer - Your accident report should include the following information:
- How the accident happened
- Where the accident happened
- Time of the accident
- Names of witnesses to the accident
- Who the accident was initially reported to
- Which body parts were injured
- Document names of any witnesses to your accident
- Consult a personal injury attorney to learn your rights - Work injury claims are complicated, and insurance companies are notorious for denying claims—even when compensation is deserved
If your loved one perished in a workplace accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Injured in a Work Accident? Contact Us Today
Big cases require big resources. Our Louisville attorneys can protect your rights and know how to handle the tactics that large insurance companies use to deny claims. We have a track record of securing results in complex cases, and we’ll fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation that you deserve.
Contact Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC at (502) 242-8872 to learn how we may assist you.