Every employee in Charleston, whether they work in a factory, a restaurant, an office, or anyplace else, has the right to earn a living free from the fear of injury while on the job. Indeed, the federal law known as the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSH Act, requires employers to take steps to maintain a safe workplace.
Still, workplace injuries and deaths do unfortunately happen. When a worker is injured while at work, they have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to maintain their income while they are disabled. Any injury that occurs while an employee is at work can be the source of a workers’ compensation case.
However, it is often better if employees and employers can work together to lower the chances of these injuries occurring. A Charleston workplace safety lawyer could help you understand your rights as an employee as well as the federal regulations concerning workplace safety. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney could work with you as your workplace safety advocate to ensure your job is as risk-free as possible and, if necessary, pursue workers’ compensation income in the case of an injury.
Federal Laws Concerning Workplace Safety
All employers in South Carolina and around the country, including those working in manufacturing factories and facilities, are governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, also known as the OSH Act. This applies to workplaces with any number of employees that are engaged in any type of business.
This act creates a legal duty for all employers to maintain a work environment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or harm. Under 29 U.S.C. §654, employers that fail in this duty are subject to severe financial penalties, even if no worker is ever injured.
On the other hand, the OSH Act also requires all employees to participate in workplace safety programs and utilize safety equipment meant to mitigate the chances of an injury. As any Charleston-area attorney could confirm, workplace safety is ultimately a cooperative effort between workers and their employers. For more information about the federal laws concerning workplace safety, reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer.
Individual Responsibilities for Improving Safety
Effective plans for workplace safety are best implemented when both workers and employers take an active role. While employers carry the legal burden to provide a safe workplace, workers are responsible for following procedures and acting as a reasonable person would.
Employers should take steps to ensure worker safety that include:
- Providing necessary safety equipment
- Ensuring that all machinery is up to date and well maintained
- Providing proper training for all employees including the safest way to do their job and what to do in case of an accident
- Maintaining safety protocols in the event of an injury to ensure that workers receive prompt medical attention
- Posting the laws concerning OSH regulations in a prominent location in the workplace
How Workers Can Protect Themselves From Injuries
Workers can also act to ensure their own safety. No one wants to be injured on the job, and workers in manufacturing jobs and office jobs alike can help to reduce their risk of injury by:
- Attending all training sessions and paying close attention
- Participating in safety drills
- Using all machinery and tools only as intended
- Showing up for work well rested and sober
- Informing OSHA about any workplace safety violations
Workers are never required to report any workplace safety violations, but they are encouraged to do so. In fact, federal law protects all whistleblowers from any adverse workplace effects that may follow the filing of a complaint. A seasoned Charleston workplace safety lawyer could help workers to better understand their rights and obligations at work.
Charleston Workplace Safety Attorneys Are Dedicated to Protecting People at Work
You have the right to pursue your chosen career with an expectation that you will not be injured or killed while working. Any injury you suffer that occurs at work can be the subject of a workers’ compensation claim that could provide valuable and necessary income while you recover. Naturally, though, it is better if these injuries never happen in the first place.
Both employers and workers have a responsibility to reduce risk and to take steps to protect themselves. Still, incidents do happen, and a Charleston workplace safety lawyer could help you file complaints with OSHA and pursue workers’ compensation benefits if the need arises. Call today to discuss your case with a skilled workplace safety advocate.