Workers in Missouri and around the country can report serious workplace hazards to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and they can also file complaints with the federal agency if they believe that safety standards are being ignored or skirted by their employers. Safety protocols evolve over time and it can be difficult for employers to keep up as accident investigations and new studies yield fresh approaches. OSHA’s Fatal Facts worksheets address this problem by using actual case histories to provide employers and employees with safety tips and regular compliance updates.
Employers may find themselves featured in an OSHA Fatal Facts worksheet if they fail to identify hazardous conditions in the workplace or do not respond appropriately to threats that are acknowledged. Employers that operate in highly regulated segments like construction, warehousing and oil and gas are more likely to be scrutinized by OSHSA. A worksheet that was released in August 2017 covers the case of a warehouse worker who lost his life after falling from a pallet that was being raised by a forklift.
The warehouse worker died because his employer did not provide him with adequate fall protection or forbid the practice of using forklift trucks to raise workers to otherwise inaccessibly high shelving. The Fact Sheet urges employers to review warehouse procedures for routine practices that may be extremely dangerous, and it details the kind of safety equipment currently available that could prevent this kind of tragedy.
Employers may face personal injury lawsuits instead of workers’ compensation claims when they knowingly violate federal safety regulations. Workers’ compensation laws generally protect employers from lawsuits filed by injured workers, but attorneys with experience in this area may suggest litigation when an employer’s recklessness is so egregious that it amounts to a willful intent to cause harm.
Source: OSHA, “OSHA Fatal Facts”, accessed on Sept. 25, 2017