These are exciting times for workplace safety. 2015 promises to be a banner year for protecting workers in the workplace, as the Obama administration plans to implement a number of important changes through OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and MSHA (the Mining Safety and Health Administration).
These changes have been a long time in coming, having been in discussions for years and announced nine months ago. Important changes include:
- Rules to reduce work exposure to beryllium, which is viewed by many as the new asbestos, a common substance in certain work environments (particularly ceramics and aerospace) that can cause lung disease and cancer
- Significant improvements in how workplace incidents and injuries are tracked by OSHA, allowing the Federal government to more quickly identify and respond to trends and patterns of injuries in certain fields
- New requirements for fall protection systems to address trip and fall injuries, one of the most common of all on-the-job industries
Reforms like these are a huge step forward, as American workers remain in jeopardy in many lines of work. Having the Federal government administering these requirements could save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of injuries. It was only when the government stepped in that companies stopped exposing their workers to dangerous substances such as asbestos and radon on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, these changes are still a few months away, and a lot can go wrong in a few months. For those exposed to beryllium on a daily basis, or for those who are injured in a fall in the meantime, the changes did not come soon enough. And even with these changes, there are still dozens of workplace dangers that OSHA has yet to address.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a work-related accident, it is important that you contact a lawyer immediately. The company you work for will consult with their lawyers as quickly as possible, and only by doing the same can you make sure you don’t get railroaded and insure your rights are respected.