The Magnificent Seven OSHA Citations
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the number of fatal workplace accidents increased significantly in 2019. OSHA is one of the smallest federal agencies. So, when inspectors issue citations, they usually focus on one of the areas mentioned below.
Citations are usually irrelevant for liability purposes. Workers’ compensation insurance provides no-fault benefits. However, citations could be highly relevant for damages purposes. A citation suggests that the employer knew about, and ignored, the danger. As a result, a New Orleans workers compensation lawyer might be able to obtain additional compensation for victims.
These injuries are, by far, the most common workplace injuries. So, doing everything possible to prevent them is a big part of worker safety. Safety is a process. It involves providing gear, instruction workers how to use gear, and insisting they fully utilize it. A breakdown in any area could lead to a citation and a serious injury.
The language barrier is often a factor in these cases. Many workers do not speak good English. They are hard workers. They just aren’t good communicators. Yet many employers only post warning signs in English. Many workers cannot read these signs or cannot understand what they mean.
These citations are a special subset of the aforementioned fall protection citations. Since scaffolds are so dangerous, they have their own safety category. A fall from as little as four stories high could be fatal. Yet many employers refuse to provide safety harnesses, even though they could effectively end these injuries. Safety harnesses slow workers down, so many bosses do not provide them or discourage their use.
Guards on Power Tools
Today’s power tools do a lot of work quickly, so they make a big mess. Flying debris is a leading cause of eye injuries. Guards do not cost much in terms of efficiency. But many projects are on such tight schedules that a few lost minutes every day could result in forfeiture of an on-time bonus. On a related note, some workers don’t wear goggles, for whatever reason. Once again, failure to take basic precautions is usually irrelevant in workers’ compensation claims.
Most people fall on ladders, or ladders fall on them, because they were improperly secured or improperly used. Workers must firmly anchor ladders. These things are not the stepladders people use in their homes or garages. Ascending/descending too quickly and stepping on the top are the leading misuse hazards. Labels clearly warn people not to do these things. But these warnings are, once again, irrelevant for liability purposes.
Breathing masks effectively protect workers against some hazards. But they don’t protect against all of them. Asbestos is a good example. These fibers are small enough to absorb through the skin. A flimsy paper mask offers almost no protection.
Motor Vehicle Issues
In a pinch, many employers order unlicensed drivers to operate forklifts, dump trucks, and the list goes on. Frequently, employers reason that s/he is simply moving the truck across the parking lot, so what could possibly go wrong. Tragically, plenty can go wrong, especially at busy construction sites where people run around like ants.
Count on a Dedicated Attorney
Safety issues at work usually involve only two or three key areas. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in New Orleans, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Mississippi and Louisiana.