While on the job injuries and fatalities are on a downward swing post-pandemic, it is easy to assume that this number will be back on the rise as people return to working full time away from home. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 2.8 million+ non fatal workplace injuries each year in the U.S., with about 15% of those occurring in the manufacturing industry [https://www.bls.gov/]. Manufacturing jobs are amongst the most common in the State of Louisiana, so it raises the question: “What are employers doing to keep their employees safe?”
The Role of OSHA in the Workplace
According to their website, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a government agency responsible for setting and enforcing safety standards in the workplace, as well as providing outreach and education to both workers and employees [osha.gov/aboutosha]. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there is only one OSHA inspector for every 70,000 workers in the U.S. With only ten regional offices, OSHA is the first line of defense for employees, and the shortage of inspectors means that some things will simply slip between the cracks.
Your Employer’s Obligation to Your Safety
OSHA is the official government arm that enforces employee health and safety standards, but they make up a small part of the overall responsibility of both the government and your employer to keep you safe. One of the things that all employers must do is carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This is mandatory (sometimes referred to as “compulsory”) and failure to provide this secondary insurance to your employees can result in employer fines and loss of licensure in some cases. Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits are required by law to be posted in a common area of your workplace. If you don’t see your rights posted on large posters in the common area of your workplace, you may want to investigate further with the help of an attorney.
Top Causes Of Workplace Injury
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists fall protection, hazard communication, and respiratory protection as the top three causes for workplace injury. If you are working in a hazardous environment where you are cleaning petroleum products or tanks, or you are removing building materials and breathing in dust, your employer should educate you and provide you with proper protective equipment to ensure that you are doing your job safely. If you are a roofer, your employee should educate you and provide you with the proper equipment to scale a roof and work safely.
The Law Office of Stephen Gaubert has dedicated over three quarters of our practice to representing employees who have been injured on the job. These cases are amongst some of the most complex of all legal cases, and they require more than just occasional drive-by experience. As a proud supporter of the downtown Acadiana community, I offer my clients the time, attention and experience that they deserve. As a Workers’ Compensation attorney for nearly 20 years, I offer my knowledge about the nuances and details that can win a case. You are not a number to me. If you have a case or a potential case, call my office today to discuss how we can get you back on your feet again.