On Aug. 1, an OSHA rule went into effect increasing the maximum penalty for a serious violation to $12,741. The penalty for a willful or repeated violations increased to $124,709, and the increases were part of an effort to make sure that they went up along with the cost of living. According to OSHA, the most common type of health and safety violations since 2012 are nearly identical to data from previous years in the construction industry.
Topping that list are violations related to fall safety equipment. Such violations accounted for 359 of 899 deaths that occurred in 2014, and they involve issues with guardrails, portable ladders and scaffolds. Another common violation relates to a lack of training when it comes to implementing fall protection strategies. Employers must confirm in writing that an employee has been properly trained or have that employee go through a training program again.
Eye, face and head protection violations are among the most common in the construction industry. OSHA requires that worker exposure to silica dust be tracked and that medical exams are provided to those who are subject to lengthy exposure. A company in Illinois was fined $115,500 after it was discovered that workers were working without head protection or proper eye protection while using a nail gun.
Those who are hurt while on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers are generally entitled to a portion of their salary as well as reimbursement for medical bills that they incur for work related injuries. An attorney may be able to review any case involving a claim that has been denied or disputed by an employer’s insurance company. Workers may also seek legal counsel if they have any concerns or questions about their cases.