Some jobs have inherent hazards, but all Connecticut workers have the right to a reasonably safe workplace. This means that employers have a duty to protect their employees from unreasonable safety and health hazards. To make sure they live up to that duty, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets safety standards for workplaces and enforces them with inspections and fines. Unfortunately, many employers don’t seem to take OSHA or the safety of their employees very seriously.
Recently, OSHA announced that it may impose $109,000 in fines against a Connecticut company after finding that it repeatedly violated safety standards. According to OSHA, the agency inspected Bristol’s Radcliff Wire Inc. several times last summer and found that safety violations left employees exposed to the risk of electric shock, fire, crushing and other types of injuries.
Hazards included a failure to shut down power before electricians began working on machinery, neglected inspection of protective gear, failure to provide eye protection for employees who worked with corrosive chemicals and faulty storage of flammable material. Several of the safety hazards cited in last year’s inspections were previously cited after inspections in 2009.
Connecticut and state laws provide workers protection from retaliation at work when they assist with an OSHA inspection. Connecticut’s workers’ compensation system provides workers with benefits when they are injured in an accident at work.
When making a claim for workers’ compensation, the injured worker does not have to prove that the workplace violated safety standards or that the employer did anything wrong. Still, employers and their insurers sometimes balk at honoring a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. A Connecticut attorney with experience in workers’ compensation law can help injured workers fight for the benefits they deserve.
Source: The Courant, “Bristol Firm Fined $109,000 For Workplace Hazards,” Josh Kovner, Feb. 3, 2014