Statistics recently taken from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation reveal that, since 2005, at least 5,045 employees have suffered injuries requiring amputations while on the job. Amputations are among the most serious and damaging workplace injuries, as they often leave employees permanently unable to perform manual labor. Workplace accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm remind workers injured during the course of employment that you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits or file a lawsuit against equipment manufacturers.
Injuries suffered on the job, particularly involving amputations, can cause major disruptions to that person’s life and livelihood. Fortunately, workers enjoy a plethora of rights to help them through difficult times. Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which can cover anything from amputations, lung cancer resulting from inhaling smoke or toxins, carpal tunnel syndrome, and injuries suffered from heavy lifting.
The Ohio data showed that the majority of workers who suffered amputations were injured by unguarded or defective equipment. Injuries resulting from unsafe machinery are particularly devastating because they are, by and large, preventable. Had the company properly inspected and maintained the equipment, or if safety precautions were adequately implemented, the accident could have been prevented.
Efforts for Heightened Transparency
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According to the Associated Press, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently proposed a new rule requiring companies to file worker injury and illness reports online, so they are available to the public. The new rule would drastically change the way companies report safety information to the government.
The electronic reporting system would exist online and, ideally, would help prevent workplace accidents from occurring through increased oversight and transparency. OSHA believes that increased public access to raw injury data would expose companies where workers are being consistently injured or sickened. The plan, however, would only apply to companies with at least 250 employees.
Currently, OSHA only requires employers to post injury and illness summaries in common workplaces areas, such as break rooms, where all employees can view them. Some officials have spoken out about the lax fines imposed by OSHA, which they believe are not high enough to incentivize companies to create better safety systems. Congress, however, has failed to increase OSHA’s fine amounts.
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Because OSHA does not have the authority to impose greater fines, the Administration is hoping that making safety reports public would put more pressure on companies to comply. OSHA has stepped up its authoritative game over the past few months, since Thomas Perez was appointed the Secretary of Labor. The agency recently limited workplace standards for exposure to silica dust by a significant amount, for example, and Perez plans to pick up the pace in job creation.
We can Help
When workers are injured, they have a choice of either filing a workers’ compensation claim with the company’s insurance company or, in certain situations, to file a lawsuit against the employer. Workers can sue their employers if an injury was caused by intentionally harmful behavior, or for non-physical damages like discrimination and severe emotional distress. Similarly, a lawsuit may be filed against the manufacturer of a piece of machinery equipment if it is defective in any way and causes an injury.
Our team of workers’ compensation attorneys has a long track record of success litigating these types of cases. We provide free legal consultations to injured workers throughout the country, and work exclusively on a contingency basis, which means we never get paid unless we are successful on your behalf.