The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) makes it their job to inspect businesses nationwide for conditions that might be hazardous to the employees of those businesses. If the inspectors find something amiss, they will cite the business, who then has a certain amount of time to rectify the situation, contest the citation and, hopefully (if not contested) make the conditions and workplace safer for employees in the future. If the business fails to modify the conditions before the next inspection occurs, severe penalties can ensue, and for good reason. OSHA is not one to mess with when it comes to citations.
Cases are brought to the attention of OSHA when an incident is reported that prompts an investigation, or worse, when someone is severely injured or killed as a result of an accident exacerbated by the work conditions of a particular business. A business could be cited for the following:
- improperly stored hazardous chemicals in the area
- workers’ exposure to toxic chemicals on an ongoing basis
- implementation of clothing that proves to be improper for the work conditions
- the business’s failure to ensure compliance with safety regulations for a particular piece of equipment or machinery
- the business’s failure to provide training and implement educational opportunities for employees
- the business’s failure to report an unsafe condition
- lack of an evacuation or emergency plan
- other hazards or improper conditions that are uncovered during an initial investigation
Because of their ongoing efforts to promote safe work conditions, OSHA continually thrives to make other businesses aware of hazardous conditions by providing education and media alerts. If ignored, fines from OSHA can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the destruction of the business’s reputation once the OSHA citation occurs.
If you have been injured at your workplace, or know of someone who has been injured as a result of an employer not following guidelines set by OSHA or other regulatory agencies, there may be a case for personal injury, worker’s compensation, product defect and /or wrongful death. Cases involving the Department of Labor will involve multiple investigations and entities, and your New York attorney will best be able to work on your behalf to settle your case.
Everyone has a job to do, including the Department of Labor. Compliance is key when it comes to an OSHA citation, and they are there to help you modify the conditions for a safer work environment for all.