The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting 2014 program – one of OSHA’s principal inspection plans for high-hazard, non-construction workplaces that have 20 or more workers. The Site-Specific Targeting plan is based on data collected from a survey of 80,000 establishments in high-hazard industries.
Pursuant to its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting program, OSHA plans to direct enforcement resources to those workplaces that have the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.
“By focusing our inspection resources on employers in high hazard industries who endanger their employees, we can prevent injuries and illnesses and save lives,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said in a press release.
OSHA safety programs and regulations, along with workers’ compensation laws, are designed to keep workplaces safe, protect employees from on-the-job injuries, and provide employees with financial compensation in the event that they do suffer a work-related injury or illness.
Employers are required to know and comply with OSHA regulations and, when they fail to do so, they may incur fines and penalties. Regardless of whether a work-related accident was the result of an OSHA violation or not, injured workers are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
In exchange for workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers are barred from suing their employers in private civil actions. While many courts have held that the workers’ compensation bar on personal injury lawsuits is not overcome even in those cases where an employer willfully violated OSHA safety regulations, some courts have held that the willful violation of OSHA safety regulations may be a factor to be considered in determining whether to disregard the workers’ compensation bar on private lawsuits.
Nonetheless, depending on the circumstances of a work-related accident, an injured worker may still have a third-party cause of action against another party. Moreover, OSHA has reminded employers that federal law bars them from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries, and warned employers against offering bonuses or prizes for meeting safety goals if those incentives deter workers from reporting injuries.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, or you suspect your employer of violating OSHA safety regulations, you should consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about workers’ compensation and employment laws and dedicated to protecting employee rights.
The Chicago worker’s compensation lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC focus on protecting injured workers and we commend OSHA for its Site-Specific Targeting Program as a means of promoting workplace safety. We are committed to helping injured workers obtain full and fair recovery for their injuries, including workers’ compensation benefits and any personal injury damages in a third party lawsuit, as well as ensuring that they are not the victim of workplace retaliation as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers.