Georgia companies must comply with federal workplace safety regulations to ensure that employees operate in a safe, clean and hazard-free environment. When an employer fails to maintain these standards, the risks of workplace accidents and injuries increase.
An employee injured on the job may apply for workers’ compensation to cover his or her medical expenses, rehabilitation and loss of wages while taking time off to recover. A worker’s employer must provide paperwork for the benefits application and can neither prevent nor discourage an employee from filing. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against a worker who applies for workers’ compensation or who reports an on-the-job accident to regulatory agencies.
Letting officials know about an accident
To help prevent further on-the-job accidents, an injured employee may feel a need to report a company operating in violation of the U.S. Department of Labor safety laws. An onsite investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may reveal whether an employer is in breach of federal safety regulations. An inspection could result in OSHA ordering an employer to comply with the required safety standards.
As reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, OSHA cited a Georgia-based tire distribution company for several violations that placed its warehouse employees at risk of serious accidents. Inspectors discovered dangerous fire hazards such as inaccessible fire extinguishers and blocked exit doors not visibly marked as “emergency” exits.
OSHA found that employees working at a height of 25 feet did not have the required safety fall equipment or harnesses. Machines and motorized power trucks also lacked safety labels warning employees of the risks and dangers. Narrow warehouse aisles containing damaged or crushed shelves increased the chances of forklifts striking employees and causing serious injuries.
Seeking “no-fault” relief from workplace injuries
Employees do not need to prove that their employer was at fault for causing an accident when applying for workers’ compensation. Workers may apply for benefits even if they caused the injury through their own negligence. If a workplace hazard or accident exasperates a pre-existing condition, it may also qualify for benefits.