Even when all precautions are taken and all safety rules are followed, workplace accidents can still occur. However, some workplace incidents happen because safety regulations are not complied with. When an employer fails to uphold these regulations, this not only means that they will face penalties for their violations, but it also means workers could be harmed by this negligence.
Workplace safety in the U.S. is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Additionally, OSHA inspects work sites periodically, ensuring that safety rules and regulations are followed. Whether it is through an inspection, complaint or investigation following a workplace accident, an OSHA code violation could range from relatively minor to extremely hazardous.
Those deemed minor are considered technical violations. These are violations that have no direct impact on health or safety. However, a serious violation could be the cause of the injury or death of a worker. For each serious violation discovered by OSHA, a penalty of up to $7,000 per violation could be issued. These penalties could be higher for repeated violations. For example, failing to ensure that employees that carry heavy loads wear steel-toe boots is considered a serious violation.
When an employee is injured because of an OSHA violation in the workplace, it is vital to understand what can be done in the event of a workplace accident. An injured worker could seek workers’ compensation benefits as the first step. This could help the injured worker address losses such as medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages and other related damages.