Pennsylvania Employers Have a Duty to Provide a Safe Workplace According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act
If you have suffered injuries at work, Pennsylvania law provides legal recourse through the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act requires an employer or an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier to pay wage loss benefits for employees who are injured at work. Although workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, it does not require that an injured employee prove fault.
In addition to state law, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA, which is part of the United States Department of Labor, ensures safe and healthful working conditions for all employees. It sets and enforces safety standards for workers throughout the nation. Pennsylvania companies are required to abide by these standards, and they must also inform their workers about their OSHA rights.
When an employer violates a safety standard, injured workers have rights. Most injured workers file a workers’ compensation claim for their work-related injuries. Through workers’ compensation, these injured employees may recover medical and wage benefits, regardless of fault for an accident or condition. The amount and the duration of workers’ compensation benefits depend on the severity of the injury. Some employees are partially disabled, while others face a permanent, total disability.
When an employer commits an OSHA violation, you may be entitled to recover additional damages. Willful or serious misconduct that harms a worker may entitle that worker to increased benefits. There must be documented evidence that your employer’s misconduct directly caused your workplace injury. When a worker suspects a violation of OSHA standards, they can file a complaint with the agency and request that OSHA inspect the workplace.
Workers who suspect their employer is in violation of safety standards may attend the inspection and speak with the inspector privately about the workplace hazards. Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against workers who report a potential safety violation.
A few months ago, OSHA issued a News Release for the region that includes Pennsylvania. A state masonry contracting company was cited and fined nearly $345,000 after OSHA determined the company had exposed workers to scaffolding hazards. These hazards posed dangers ranging from injuries from falls and unsafe conditions to possible death. In fact, this particular company had been cited 41 times since 2011 for dangers associated with scaffolding hazards – exposing workers to life-threatening risks. After a hearing and the company’s agreement to accept a citation for willful and repeat violations, the only remaining issue was whether to impose OSHA’s proposed penalties.
At Needle Law Firm, our skilled attorneys help people injured at work pursue Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits. As workers’ compensation lawyers, we have represented employees throughout the state, and we provide efficient and personalized service. Our dedicated lawyers understand Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws, as well as OSHA standards, and we have made it a priority to maximize compensation on behalf of individuals hurt at work. For a no-obligation, complimentary consultation with an experienced attorney, call our office at (570) 344-1266 or complete our online form.