Philadelphia Attorney for Injuries Caused by an OSHA Unsafe Work Violations
Injuries on the job are a common occurrence. Many employees are required to engage in a task that involves a substantial level of risk. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides standards and regulations for employers to minimize the dangers employees face in their work environment. While OSHA’s rules address many specific hazards, many potential dangers have been overlooked or OSHA has yet to develop standards related to them.
OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1 is a catch-all provision for those hazards that have not been specifically addressed. Known as the “general duty clause,” this regulation requires that employers maintain a workplace that is free from recognized hazards. If you were injured because your employer failed to comply with the “general duty clause,” contact our Philadelphia attorney for injuries caused by an OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1 violation immediately. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for a free and confidential consultation today.
How OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1 is Applied to Philadelphia Employers
Workers throughout the tri-state state area are entitled to a work environment that is free from unreasonable dangers and risks. To help accomplish that goal, nearly every employer in Philadelphia must adhere to the safety regulations published by OSHA. However, despite the numerous rules and regulations OSHA has developed, not every condition is covered. Under the “general duty clause,” hazards that were not explicitly addressed could still constitute safety violations.
The “General Duty Clause” as Applied to Philadelphia Businesses and Employers
Employers are required to adhere to the regulatory safety standards issued by OSHA, while employees rely on these standards to ensure they are working in a safe environment. However, every potential hazard or danger is not specifically addressed by an OSHA rule. The “general duty clause” places an overall obligation on a Pennsylvania employer to protect their employees from any recognized and serious workplace hazard. More precisely, the clause states, “[e]ach employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”
Common Violations of the “General Duty Clause” in Philadelphia Work Environments
OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1 requires Philadelphia employers to take all necessary, feasible action to keep the work environment free from any hazards that are causing or are likely to cause severe physical harm or death.
While OSHA’s published standards include a broad scope of potential dangers that require mitigation, they do not address every possible hazard. For example, there are no developed standards regarding violence in the workplace. The “general duty clause” governs an employer’s obligation to their employees in those situations not covered by other published standards.
Some other common OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1 violations that have resulted in the unreasonable physical harm or death of Philadelphia workers include the following.
- Employment that requires regular and repeated moving of heavy objects
- Employers that fail to provide their employees access to immediate medical care if necessary
- Jobs that expose employees to certain dangerous chemicals
- Heavy machinery that lacks an automatic shut-off safety system
- Forklifts, or other similar equipment, that is not adequately maintained or improperly operated
- Employment that entails long periods of sitting or standing with adequate support
Requirements for a Violation of the “General Duty Clause” by Pennsylvania Employers
Our experienced Pennsylvania attorney will be required to demonstrate four conditions to show that an employee’s injury was the result of a violation of OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1.
A Hazard Must Exist
The employee must have been exposed to an actual dangerous situation or set of circumstances. For a violation to have occurred, we must demonstrate that there was a hazard. For example, an employee’s injury on a factory floor was severely compounded by the lack of proper first aid stations or access to immediate medical attention. The inadequate safety precautions could constitute a hazard.
The Hazard Must be Recognized
For a violation to have occurred, the employee must have known, or should have known, about the hazard. Knowledge could arise from experience or be commonly acknowledged throughout the specific industry. Our law firm will need to show that your employer was aware of the hazardous condition.
In the example above, there are several possible ways to establish that an employer knew the lack of first aid stations or access to immediate medical attention presented a dangerous situation.
- A record of past injuries that did not receive proper medical treatment
- Internal protocols that required first aid stations that were ignored
- Any previous grievances made by the employees regarding the lack of medical aid
- Common industry practices regarding the placement and frequency of first aid stations
The Hazard is Likely to Cause Death or Physical Harm to the Employees
The hazard must present a significant possibility of causing serious injuries or death. Generally, this condition is applied liberally but is still dependent upon the facts of the particular situation. If injuries are likely to occur in a factory because of the inherent risks involved in the work, then failing to provide access to immediate medical attention could constitute a serious hazard that could result in additional adverse medical consequences or death. Our Pennsylvania OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1 violation lawyer will thoroughly review the facts and history surrounding the cause of your injury.
The Employer has the Ability to Mitigate the Hazard
The last condition necessary to demonstrate a violation of the “general duty clause” is showing that it was feasible to mitigate or remove the hazard. Many jobs are dangerous, and the hazards they present are part and parcel of the employment. Determining whether or not a hazard is correctable depends on the exact situation and facts presented. However, in the example above, providing medical first aid stations and implementing a company procedure for addressing serious injuries should be possible without any great difficulty.
Proving an OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a) in Philadelphia
The first thing our Philadelphia personal Injury lawyer will have to establish is that a hazard existed. If your occupation required sitting for an extended period, you would require a chair that provides adequate support along with necessary breaks to avoid injuries to your spine or shoulders or any other medical issues connected with remaining stationary for a long time. If there is a lack of proper chairs available, it could constitute a hazard.
Next, a violation requires that the hazard was recognized. Your employer’s knowledge of any potentially dangerous situations could arise from first-hand experience or applicable standards that exist in the industry. Proving that a hazard was recognized could be accomplished in several ways.
Turning to the example above, an employer could have a file of complaints by employees regarding an insufficient number of proper chairs. Additionally, there are numerous studies available regarding the health risks employees face due to extended sitting without proper support.
The recognized hazard must also likely cause physical harm or death. Fortunately for people injured in the workplace, this condition is typically broadly applied. We will have to demonstrate that the circumstances created by your employer’s actions presented an unreasonable risk of injury. While death is an unlikely occurrence from a poorly designed chair, back injuries are not only a probable consequence but they could also lead to long-term and painful adverse medical effects.
The final condition required to show a violation is proving that there were reasonable steps your employer could have taken to minimize or remove the hazard. Similarly to establishing that it was a recognized hazard, showing that it was feasible to mitigate the risk is also dependent on the facts of your case. In the example above, providing employees chairs with proper support and adequate breaks during the workday are reasonable actions that are feasible. Unfortunately, every workplace injury case will not be as cut and dry as the example here. If you are hurt in the workplace, you will need the representation of our experienced Philadelphia injury attorney working on your behalf.
Call Our Philadelphia Attorney for Injuries Caused by an OSHA Unsafe Workplace Violation
Workers in Philadelphia and the surrounding area suffer job-related injuries daily. If you believe your injury was the direct result of your employer’s failure to adhere to OSHA regulations or guidelines, contact our experienced Philadelphia attorney for injuries caused by an OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1 violations immediately. Our attorneys have been representing injured workers for over three decades. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for a free and confidential consultation today.