The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency inside the Department of Labor, responsible for protecting workers and regulating work conditions around the country. Their job is to help employers keep the work environment safe.
When employers fail to follow safety regulations or put employees up against unnecessary risks, people get hurt or killed. In many jobs, safety is not something to compromise on. If you’ve been injured at work or developed an illness or condition because of your job, you might have a case against your employer or a workers’ compensation claim. In Arkansas, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law fights to help injured workers get the compensation they need to recover.
What OSHA Does for Workers
OSHA is a federal government agency. This means that OSHA works nationally, and has offices throughout the country. The Arkansas office is the Little Rock Area Office, and is located on the outskirts of Little Rock, just off I-430. The government of Arkansas does not have its own version of OSHA, but the Arkansas Department of Labor does have an Arkansas OSHA Consultation Division. This Consultation Division works with employers to help them comply with federal OSHA regulations.
The overall goal of OSHA is to reduce workplace illness and injury. OSHA’s mission statement says that it works to “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”
Many of the things that OSHA regulates involve physical safety concerns. This also includes making sure that employees are properly trained in safe operation of equipment, as part of that concern for physical well-being. To this end, OSHA regulates many of the following:
- How to train employees, including the right to be trained in a language they understand.
- Equipment and machinery safety.
- Making sure employers pay for safety equipment.
- Protection from toxic chemicals.
- Providing employees with records of work-related injury and illness.
- Providing clean air, clean water, and bathroom access to all employees.
Many times, when employers ignore or otherwise violate these rules and regulations, employees get sick or injured.
Workers’ Compensation Helps Injured Workers
It is important to understand that OSHA helps employees, but it does not work to reimburse them for injuries or illness. OSHA is able to regulate employers and fine them when they fail to comply with their rules. Despite this, the goal is enforcing the rules, not compensating workers. OSHA fights to keep employees healthy and safe, but it is up to state-run workers’ compensation programs to help employees when they get injured.
Workers’ compensation is a state program, run by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. The goal of workers’ comp. is to repay injured workers for the costs of their medical bills and lost wages when they suffer from work-related injury or illness. Workers’ comp. and OSHA are like two sides of the same coin. OSHA fights to keep employers in line and make sure that they keep workers safe; workers’ comp. fights to help injured workers when employers do not keep workers safe.
Ultimately, your ability to file for workers’ comp. does not require OSHA violations. Even if your employer was diligent in following OSHA requirement, people can always get hurt. Especially in industries with heavy lifting, machinery, repetitive motions, or exposure to dangerous chemicals, safety practices can only do so much.
This is one of the main things that makes workers’ comp. such a strong program: even if your employer followed all safety regulations, you may still recover for injury. Without workers’ compensation, you would need to prove that your employer was negligent, and that that lead to your injury. This would require going to court and obtaining a judgment against your employer. With workers’ comp., you do not need to prove that the employer violated any OSHA regulations or other safety doctrines – you just need to prove that your injury was work-related.
Of course, sometimes employers do violate OSHA requirements, and workers get hurt because if it. If your employer violated regulations from OSHA, contact an Arkansas lawyer. If you were injured by something your employer did – or failed to do – your case for workers’ compensation might be stronger. Alternatively, you might be able to take your employer to court directly. This will help you seek not only the medical bills and lost wages you can get through workers’ compensation, but you might be able to use a doctor of your choice, get 100% of your wages reimbursed, and even get damages for pain and suffering.
Arkansas OSHA Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured at work, talk to an experienced Arkansas personal injury lawyer about your options for recovery. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, offers free consultations for victims of injury. Call (479) 439-1843 today.