Willful workplace violations. Those are words that no family wants to hear after the death of a loved one. They mean that the employer knew that there were violations of safety regulations and did nothing about them. These violations could be as simple as not guarding machinery to not providing safety gear to workers at a construction site.
With so many businesses in the United States, it’s not surprising that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have enough agents to go to every business to check that it is following safety regulations. What it is doing is finding the businesses that are violating its regulations most often and taking a stand against them. The federal safety agency and its state counterparts have 1,850 or fewer inspectors who have to monitor 8 million workplaces.
It is simply impossible for the officials to inspect every job site. That’s why the agency requests that you report any safety violations that take place in the workplace. Right now, OSHA only goes to severe violator workplaces or to workplaces where deaths or severe injuries have taken place. There simply isn’t the manpower to do more. Even adding more inspectors wouldn’t help; the job is overwhelming. Despite this, its job is necessary and enforcement is required.
Companies that violate safety precautions can be put into severe violator program that takes years to get out of. While this is a good start, it isn’t enough to hold all companies accountable for their actions. If your loved one was hurt or killed, it must be reported. Then OSHA will investigate the incident. An attorney can help you file a workers’ compensation claim or a death benefits claim.
Source: Iowa Watch, “OSHA’s Wall of Shame: With Limited Staff, Agency Targets ‘Severe Violators’,” Paul Feldman and Stuart Silverstein, Dec. 23, 2016