Workplace accidents and related injuries occur every day, and the vast majority are preventable if employers follow basic safety procedures outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for their respective industry. Accidents are commonly the result of an unsafe work environment, and workplace injuries can be linked to the following:
After an accident occurs, OSHA employees and yourOSHA violation lawyer may be contacted to investigate the root cause of an accident.
Every employee has the right to a safe work environment, and if it is determined that your employers violated OSHA safety guidelines, a personal injury and workplace injury lawsuit may be filed to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term disability.
Joe Lyon is an experienced OSHA violation lawyer and workplace injury attorney reviewing traumatic workplace injuries for plaintiffs nationwide.
The Lyon Firm handles OSHA whistleblower cases, when employees come forward to reveal unsafe working conditions that have led to accidents and injuries.
OSHA Safety Violations
- Lack of fall protection—many noted violations cited by OSHA stemmed from a lack of effective protective systems for construction workers working at height without proper safeguards.
- Toxic hazard communication—industries using potentially dangerous chemicals have a duty to educate workers about the dangers of toxic materials and outline plans to treat exposed employees.
- Dangerous ladders and scaffolding—scaffolding may present a fall hazard if not properly installed and maintained at work sites.
- Respiratory protection—it is too common for employers to neglect a respiratory protection plan for workers inhaling dangerous chemicals at the workplace.
- Powered industrial trucks—forklifts, handcarts and other machinery requires proper training and certification to limit the unsafe use in industrial settings.
- Machine guarding—safeguards and barriers may be removed by management and present a serious violation of safety standards.
- Electrical wiring methods—makeshift wiring can create fire and electrocution hazards.
- Emergency Response and Evacuation Plans—in high risk employment settings like construction sites, power plants, fracking sites and other industrial plants, it is crucial to have a well-implemented emergency response plan.
- Fire Protection—workplaces must be equipped with working smoke alarms and sprinkler systems.
- Gas Detection—smoke and carbon monoxide sensors are critical in saving lives in dangerous work areas.
- Workplace Ventilation—when using toxic chemicals in the workplace, the areas must be ventilated to protect employees.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues thousands of citations related to workplace safety violations, many of which cite a lack of formal training program for employees working at heights, which presents fall hazards.
With each workplace, the hazards are unique, however there are some clear rules and regulations that employers must adhere to in order to best protect their workers in safe working environment.
There are some industries that see the majority of the most severe accidents and injuries year after year. Common hazardous work sites and occupations include road work zones, construction sites, farms, warehouses and factories, fracking sites, trucking and transportation. Common accidents and injuries include:
OSHA Trucking Regulations
Trucking accidents are likely to be very serious and cause a number of fatalities each year in Ohio and across the nation. In many cases, trucks and semis are overloaded or fail to meet OSHA and DOT safety standards.
Trucking companies have a duty to make sure our roads are safe and trucks meet OSHA trucking guidelines. If a truck accident occurs due to an OSHA trucking violation, a negligence lawsuit may be filed by victims of the accident.
Warehouse Accidents & Safety Standards
In factories and warehouses, there are several safety regulations that are critical in creating a safe working environment for employees. These include machine safeguards, fork truck safety, protective equipment, proper chemical storage and others.
Warehouse Accidents have been known to occur when supervisors and management fails to create a safe workplace and relaxes the regulations in place. Companies will be liable for warehouse accidents that cause serious injury to workers.
Chemical Storage & Material Hazards
The proper storage of chemicals is critical in establishing a safe workplace for employees. Workers must be trained on chemical hazards and provided with proper protective gloves and goggles if they are to be handling hazardous materials.
A failure to control chemicals in the workplace will likely eventually lead to a chemical spill or chemical burn injury accident. Employers are urged to take every precaution available to avoid workplace chemical accidents.
Contact an OSHA Violation Lawyer
Following an injury on a work site, it is critical that all evidence is preserved with photos, physical evidence and witness testimony collected. An official OSHA investigation should be conducted to determine the cause of an accident, which can lead directly into legal action and workplace injury lawsuits.
You may qualify for worker’s compensation, though your case may be worth much more than what is offered by the employer or the state benefit system. Contact an OSHA violation lawyer to review your case.
Plaintiffs and workers may file a complaint with OSHA if an employer retaliates against them by taking personnel action because they engaged in protected complaints related to workplace safety or health, unsafe working conditions, asbestos exposure, unsafe transportation conditions, aviation concerns, commercial motor carrier safety, unpaid overtime wages, manufacturing defects, environmental law violations, food safety, health, motor vehicle safety, equipment failure, or public transportation hazards.
Employers have tended to unlawfully hit back at workers who call out or lodge complaints against a company for unsafe working conditions. OSHA whistleblower law protects workers against employer retaliation and wrongful termination, and any other unfavorable personnel action, which may include:
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Denying benefits
- Failing to rehire
- Firing or laying off
- Making threats
- Reassignment to a less desirable position
- Reducing pay or hours
Unsafe Workplace Lawsuits
When an employee fears their safety is at risk from unsafe working conditions, OSHA recommends that employees try first to resolve safety and health issues by reporting them to their supervisors, managers or the industry safety and health committee.
Employees can also complain to their local OSHA Regional Office and ask for a safety inspection if they believe there is an OSHA safety violation or an “imminent danger.”
When filing unsafe work environment lawsuits, employees and their attorneys must provide complete and accurate information about an alleged hazard, answering questions regarding the following:
- How many employees work at the site and how many are exposed to the hazard?
- How and when are workers exposed?
- What work is performed in the unsafe or unhealthful area?
- What type of equipment is used? Is it in good condition?
- What materials and/or chemicals are used?
- Have employees been informed or trained regarding hazardous conditions?
- What process and/or operation is involved?
- What kinds of work are done nearby?
- How often and for how long do employees work at the task that leads to their exposure?
- How long (to your knowledge) has the condition existed?
- Have any attempts been made to correct the problem?
- How many shifts work in the area and what times do they start? On what shifts does the hazard exist?
- What personal protective equipment is required by the employer? Is the equipment used by the employees?
- Has anyone been injured or made ill as a result of this problem?
- Have there been any “near-miss” incidents?
Examples: OSHA Violations
- Ajin USA, an auto parts suppliers, was investigated after a worker was crushed to death while clearing a sensor fault in a conveyor belt. The machine restarted, and the worker was trapped inside the machine. OSHA alleged that Ajin USA failed to use energy control procedures to prevent machinery from starting during maintenance and servicing. The company also exposed employees to crushing and amputation hazards as a result of improper machine guarding.
- Atlantic Drain Service, in Boston, MA, was the site of two worker deaths when a trench collapsed, breaking an adjacent fire hydrant line and instantly flooded the trench. The OSHA determined that the employer did not provide basic safeguards against collapse or offer employee training for hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.
- Great White Construction Inc. was fined by the OSHA when an inspector witnessed employees removing shingles and plywood sheeting from the roof of a building without using proper fall protection. The workers’ harnesses were not properly tied. Great White Construction was cited for failure to protect employees from fall hazards. The company also was cited for three repeat violations for failure to ensure employees wear eye protection while using nail guns.
- Arrow Plumbing in Missouri faced eight violations after inspectors determined that a worker was operating in an unprotected trench only one month after another worker died when a trench collapsed under similar conditions.
- Amsted Rail Company in Groveport, Ohio—a steel freight component manufacturer—was cited for multiple violations after an employee suffered a crushed leg while performing maintenance. An investigation uncovered numerous machine safety violations. The OSHA also conducted a second investigation after finding incidents of workers exposed to silica at amounts greater than the permissible exposure limit.
- Autoneum North America, an auto insulation supplier in Oregon, Ohio was cited after a worker’s arm was caught in a shredding machine, resulting in the amputation of the worker’s right hand and wrist. The OSHA cited the company for inadequate machine safety procedures.
- Milark Industries, an automobile, motorcycle and appliance part manufacturer in Mansfield, Ohio, was found to have a lack of adequate machine safeguards, which led to various injuries, including a worker who suffered the amputation of two fingers. Violations included bypassing safety devices during maintenance.
- Big Tex Trailer Manufacturing, a truck bed manufacturer, was fined after inspectors found that workers involved in spray painting and power coating operations did not undergo required medical evaluation and respirator fit testing.
- Prinz Grain & Feed was cited after a grain bin collapsed, engulfing and killing a worker. OSHA found that Prinz Grain & Feed failed to train workers in confined space entry, or warn of grain handling hazards.
- BWAY Corp., a manufacturer of rigid metal, plastic and hybrid containers, was investigated for four separate reports of employee injuries prompted by inadequate machine safety procedures. Three workers suffered amputations and another worker suffered two broken bones when machinery crushed his hand.