In order to investigate workplaces and ensure compliance with federal safety requirements that save lives, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employs safety inspectors. In recent months the number of inspectors has declined, which puts workers at a high risk for preventable workplace injuries and fatalities that all too often result from safety failures.
Workplace inspectors with OSHA are tasked to look for several things that promote worker safety. If a workplace is flagged as non-compliant and cited for violations, one major function of an inspector is to work along with them to make improvements. OSHA calls these inspectors compliance safety and health officers, and they play an integral role in both keeping workers safe and employers accountable.
The most important thing is whether or not workplaces around the nation are maintaining compliance with federal safety regulations and standards that help stop preventable workplace illnesses, injuries and deaths from happening. It’s reasonable to be concerned that with the number of inspectors on the decline, that worker safety could follow in suit.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported nearly 5,200 worker fatalities in 2016 – that accounts to 14 workers dying every day in the United States. Every year, OSHA releases data on the most commonly cited workplace safety violations. Some of them include training requirements for fall protection, control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout procedures), general requirements for scaffolding, fall protection as well as machinery safety and machine guarding.
Without an adequate number of inspectors in place to comprehensively regulate workplace safety, men and women will continue to be injured – sometimes fatally – because of preventable compliance failures. All too often workplaces get fined for these failures, but had the hazards been caught in time a fatality or permanently disabling injury could’ve been avoided.
Even though employers are responsible for maintaining a safe workplace free from recognizable hazards, sometimes it’s up to an employee to report unsafe conditions they witness. Not only will OSHA keep a worker’s information confidential, but it’s also illegal for an employer to take retaliatory action against workers who file complaints. You can learn more about how to file a workplace safety violation complaint by visiting here.
According to OSHA’s own numbers there are 2,100 compliance safety and health officers who are responsible for the workplace safety of 120 million workers across the nation. If the number of safety officers continues to decrease, more workers may sustain injuries or disabilities that affect their ability to work and live comfortable lives. If you work in an unsafe environment and experienced illness or injuries as a result of safety failures, please contact a representative at our firm who can help answer your questions.
If you were injured at work, please contact our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.