Abels & Annes

Chicago Workers May be Safer as OSHA Penalties Set to Increase

51316Workers in Chicago face a myriad of threats to their personal safety every day they are on the job. From heavy machinery to falling products, slip-and-falls to car accidents, the unfortunate reality is that workers in Illinois are hurt while working every week, leaving them to suffer from the damage of an injury and to deal with the harm that accompanies the accidents.

At the federal level, workplace safety is overseen and monitored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), a division of the Department of Labor. Through work site inspections, regulations, and promulgations, OSHA attempts to keep things as safe as possible for American workers and to punish employers who allow dangerous conditions to exist unnecessarily. Recently, OSHA announced that the fines it assesses to negligent employers will be increasing, a welcomed sign from many in the employment industry who believe that financial risks are the only way to keep employers responsible with their conduct.

The new fines will be imposed for violations assessed after August 1, 2016 and only for incidents which occurred after November 2, 2015. The increased fines will be the first time that maximum OSHA fines have increased since 1990 and maximum fines will increase 78 percent. A top penalty violation will increase from a $7,000 fine to $12,471 and the maximum fine for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709.

Work injuries in Illinois can happen in any profession. Though a common belief is that only workers employed in hazardous positions, like construction work, assembly lines, and those in the healthcare industry, the truth is that any worker in any job can be hurt. Office employees, those who work for the CTA, truck drivers, school teachers, administrators, electricians, waitstaff, porters, and hotel employees are just some popular positions that face harm on-the-clock.

If you are injured while working in Illinois, there are laws in place to protect your rights. At a minimum, you may be entitled to receive the medical treatment you need to get well without cost to you as well as earn payment for the wages you are forced to miss from work while you recover. You may also be entitled to a lump sum settlement if you choose to bring a worker’s compensation claim related to your accident.

Work injuries affect countless people every year in this nation. In addition to the workers themselves, the family members, friends, neighbors, and loved ones of the victims also suffer due to an on-the-job accident. A claim for injuries can help all those affected move forward from the injuries sustained, allowing a worker and that worker’s family to return to their normal lives.

Workers’ compensation claims are available in a wide range of situations including those where an injured worker may have made a mistake or error in causing the accident. If you have questions, make sure you get answers about whether you are entitled to payment as failing to act within a time period specified by law may prevent you from recovering at all.

Prior Blog Entry:

Drunk Driving Reality: Thousands of Impaired Motorists on Chicago Streets Annually, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 5, 2016.

Resource:

OSHA Penalties Going Up Starting August 1, Insurance Journal, published July 5, 2016.