What are the most frequently violated workplace safety standards?
Arizona employers have a legal responsibility to maintain safe conditions for their workers.
Unfortunately, there are some occasions where a worker gets injured while on the job due to the employer’s failure to maintain a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has compiled a list of the most common work safety violations.
If you have been injured in the workplace, you may be legally entitled to receive compensation to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. Here a few of the most common workplace injuries that occur due to health and safety violations in the workplace.
Lack of protection from falls
Construction work-related falls are among the most common causes of severe workplace injuries and deaths. To maintain a safe environment for construction workers, employers have a legal duty to take measures to prevent their workers from falling off of elevated work stations and overhead platforms. Employers must also set up the workplace to prevent workers from falling into openings in the ground and walls.
Approximately 7,720 falls occur each year as a result of workplace safety violations.
Examples of reasonable safeguards employers can take to prevent falls include installing railings and toeboards around dangerous areas such as elevated surfaces, openings in the floor, heavy machinery and vats of chemicals.
Failure to communicate chemical hazards
To keep employees safe in environments that involve the use or presence of chemicals, employers must communicate the hazard to their employees. Arizona worker rights laws require employers to inform workers by making information available to them that identifies the hazardous chemicals and explains the related risks.
State law requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate hazards that are associated with the chemicals they import or produce. Chemical companies must also produce labels and data sheets to convey information about hazards to their customers.
Customers of chemical manufacturers and importers often employ Arizona workers. These companies are required to share hazardous chemical labels and data sheets with their workers and train their workers on how to handle the chemicals appropriately and safely.
Failure to follow scaffolding safety guidelines
OSHA provides guidelines for employers to follow in order to provide safe scaffolding when necessary. Each year, there are approximately 3,300 scaffolding accidents that occur due to work safety violations.
Arizona workplace safety laws require each scaffold and scaffolding component to be capable of supporting its own weight in addition to at least 4 times the intended load. Therefore, if scaffolding falls and injures a worker, the employer will likely be at fault (if the scaffold collapsed due to an excessive weight load).
Failure to control hazardous energy
Hazardous energy includes chemical, thermal, electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical or other energy sources in equipment and machines that can injure a worker. Machines sometimes unexpectedly start-up or release stored energy and injure a worker while servicing or performing maintenance on the machine.
Examples of hazardous energy injuries include an electric shock-related injury while repairing the machine’s wiring, a steam valve automatically powering on and burning a worker or a conveyor belt restarting and injuring a worker while the worker attempts to clear a jam in the system.
To prevent these injuries, employers are required to implement and train their workers on following proper lockout/tagout practices to avoid the release of hazardous energy.
Lack of respiratory protection
Respirators protect workers from airborne contaminants and environments in which there is not enough oxygen. Respiratory hazards in the workplace may cause lung impairment, cancer, other diseases and death. OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard has the potential to save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of respiratory injuries each year if employers maintain full compliance with the guidelines.
Unfortunately, workers sometimes do their jobs in conditions that are unsafe for their respiratory systems, and their employers do not supply OSHA-mandated respirators. If you are experiencing respiratory or breathing difficulty, and you believe your workplace may have contributed to your condition, contact an Arizona workplace safety lawyer immediately to receive a free case evaluation.
When to contact an Arizona workers’ rights lawyer
If you are injured, one of your first calls should be to an experienced workplace accident attorney. Workers who sustain a work-related injury or illness are generally eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
However, if your employer contributed to your injury due to health and safety violations in the workplace, you may be able to receive compensation in civil court.