Will new OSHA resources and proposals better protect CT workers?

Working day in and day out, most people in New Haven County, Connecticut, do not have much time to worry about the risk of getting hurt. Sadly, though, workplace injuries do occur frequently, with 3 million on the job injuries occurring in 2012 alone, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA has recently announced two changes that may help protect workers against preventable injuries. These measures will hopefully be successful, but it is still important for workers to understand their rights in the event that they are hurt on the job.

Transparency and new resources

Through press releases published in October and November, OSHA announced a few changes that are either proposed or already in effect. These included:

  • Changing the way that occupational disease and personal injury are tracked
  • Reporting disease and injury statistics online
  • Updating resources for workers who deal with hazardous chemicals
  • Providing a decision-making toolkit for people working with hazardous chemicals

OSHA has already released new Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits tables for employees who work with hazardous chemicals. The PEL tables, which limit the amount of a substance that can safely be in the air, were first created over four decades ago. The new tables reflect recent advances in knowledge of hazardous chemicals. OSHA has also released a toolkit to help workers determine if they could use a safe chemical rather than a hazardous one.

Changes to injury tracking and online publishing of statistics are just proposals at this point. First, OSHA is proposing that workplaces submit the injury and illness records that they already maintain on a more frequent basis. Most workplaces would send in reports quarterly, while those in industries with higher injury or illness rates would send in an annual report. Better access to this data will help OSHA pinpoint industries with high workplace incident rates.

Sharing this data online, meanwhile, will increase transparency and allow employers or employees to compare their workplace injury rates to those at other companies. This could have a significant impact and give employers better incentive to actively prevent workplace injuries. Unfortunately, these measures won't be able to stop every workplace injury from occurring.

Workplace injury help

Workers who are hurt on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation, depending on the circumstances. Injuries that can be covered include:

  • Falls
  • Repetitive trauma
  • Mechanical accidents
  • Occupational diseases
  • Negligence by co-workers

If an employer has violated OSHA's regulations and an employee is hurt as a result, workers' compensation is also usually owed. Unfortunately, even when workers have a right to compensation, it can sometimes be difficult to obtain.

If you have suffered from a workplace injury or had a workers' compensation claim denied, it is important that you speak with an attorney to improve your likelihood of receiving your compensation.