Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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 What Is OSHA?

OSHA is the abbreviation for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency of the Department of Labor. It is liable for assuring safety at work for all workers and a healthy work atmosphere.

OSHA’s mission is to prevent work-related injuries, diseases, and casualties. OSHA directs employers to provide their workers with working conditions free of known hazards.

What Is a Work-Related Injury?

A work-related injury is an injury that occurs during one’s employment. Usually, a work injury or workplace injury is caused by the type of job that the individual is instructed to do at their job. The term also applies to injuries during work hours or while on the employment premises.

An employee hurt on the job is privileged to immediate medical care and temporary disability benefits while recovering. If the injury is more intense, the worker’s compensation system also benefits for injuries resulting in a permanent disability.

What Businesses Does OSHA Inspect?

OSHA is responsible for making sure businesses are meeting its standards. Notwithstanding, they can’t inspect every business.

The government schedules OSHA reviews as follows:

  • Programmed Inspections: Regularly scheduled reviews that are in “high hazard” industries
  • Investigation of Imminent Dangers: Any condition or practices that could reasonably be expected to cause death or severe physical injury to workers.
  • Investigation of Complaints: OSHA is responsible for investigating complaints made by employees or cases referred to them.
  • Faulty and Catastrophe Investigations: Any work-related incident that results in the death of an employee or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more workers must be investigated.

What Is Permanent and Stationary Status?

To start the settlement process with your employer’s insurance company, your treating physician must first declare that the condition caused by the work-related injury is permanent and stationary. In the physician’s opinion, your condition will not be enhanced by current medical treatment because it has reached a plateau. It is important to review the Permanent and Stationary Report that your doctor writes for accuracy because it will be utilized to specify the compensation to which you are entitled as a settlement.

What If I Don’t Agree with the Doctor’s Report?

You should not start settling your claim with the insurance company if you disagree with the doctor’s Permanent and Stationary Report issues. This includes problems like whether medical treatment will aid you either now or in the future, whether you will be able to return to the kind of work you performed before you were injured, or the extent of the disability.

You must object to the physician’s report within 30 days of obtaining it. Both you and the insurance company have the right to evaluation by a different physician if either disagrees with the treating physician’s report. You will need to pick a Qualified Medical Evaluator from a panel of physicians delivered by the insurance company. This is a difficult process and extremely critical to your ultimate settlement, so an attorney’s counsel would be helpful.

What Is Permanent Disability Rating?

The permanent disability rating determines the amount of the settlement you can anticipate. It is determined by several factors, making its computation complex and involved. Each injury or impairment is given a percentage that varies for different body parts. The rating hinges on the results of medical tests and examinations, the extent of the pain the physician feels the injury caused, and the limitations the injured worker will face during future employment.

The same injury will affect one occupation differently from another, so the permanent disability rating is then further evaluated with another number representing your occupation. Your duties at work might mean that more than one number corresponding to a career could accurately be used. Depending on the number chosen, you may find that you are privileged to a larger or smaller settlement.

What Is the Best Way to Negotiate Workers Compensation Settlement?

The best way to arrange a worker’s compensation settlement is to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney specializing in negotiating settlements. A workers’ compensation attorney can present a demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company that lays out the facts of your injury, the extent of your wounds, the damages you have incurred because of your injuries, and the amount you are demanding the insurance company to pay.

Once the demand letter is presented, there will be a negotiation stage until an agreement has been made on the amount of the settlement to be paid out by the insurance company.

How Are OSHA Inspections Conducted?

Compliance officers conduct inspections. They generally are done without advance warning by state compliance inspectors.

Although a previous announcement isn’t required, workplace inspections must typically be conducted at a suitable time, normally during the employer’s regular work hours, and reasonably.

Does OSHA Need a Warrant to Inspect My Business?

When an OSHA compliance officer arrives at your workplace to perform an inspection, you have the right to request a warrant. If they cannot provide you with their warrant, you have the right to refuse entry.

OSHA may obtain a warrant from a judge. If you allow them entry without asking for a warrant or let them run their search despite not having a warrant after you’ve asked for one, you willingly agree to the search.

Does OSHA Have a Small Business Exemption?

Businesses considered low-risk industries might be qualified for the small business exemption. Businesses with ten or fewer workers are exempted from programmed inspections so long as they have an occupational injury lost workday rate lower than the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the national average.

What Happens if OSHA Discovers a Violation?

If a workplace violation is discovered, OSHA will give you a citation. The citation charges you with a certain violation. It will also set a time for reducing or correcting the discovered violation. The citation will also include any proposed punishments.

It’s essential to remember that employers only issue citations, even if the violation was created or caused by an employee.

Can I Contest OSHA’s Findings if Their Inspections Turns Up Something?

Yes, you can challenge the citation before the Review Commission. You also have the prospect of negotiating with OSHA to have the citation or penalties amended or removed or correcting the violations, and paying any penalties.

What Are Some Defenses of OSHA Violations?

You can defend against a citation by displaying any of the following:

  • You lacked knowledge of the violation;
  • Compliance with the standard was impossible or not feasible;
  • The offense was caused by an unexpected employee violation of your work rule;
  • No workers were exposed to a hazard; and
  • Compliance with the standard would have a greater threat to workers.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with My OSHA Problem?

OSHA sanctions can be very severe and difficult to fight. If you face an investigation, a local workers’ compensation attorney can help you meet OSHA requirements.

If you were recently inspected, consult with an employment lawyer as the inspection is the beginning of a multi-step process, and you may have some defenses.

Use LegalMatch to find the right attorney for your needs today. Do not try to battle OSHA sanctions on your own. Schedule a free consultation with an attorney in your area.

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