New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

OSHA Reforms: Could They Work to Lower Workplace Injury Risks?

Posted on Jun 23, 2017 in Workers' Compensation

The American Society of Safety Engineers believes that the current approach to protecting employees from on-the-job accidents is not sufficient. The American Society of Safety Engineers has published an OSHA Reform Blueprint, which makes a number of different suggestions for changing OSHA that the Society believes would better prevent workplace injuries and fatalities.

With understaffing and budget constraints at OSHA, implementing large-scale reforms could be difficult. Unfortunately, with thousands of employees dying each year on-the-job, it is clear that not enough is currently being done to ensure every employee is safe from harm. When fatalities and injuries occur, lives are changed forever. New York City workers’ compensation lawyers can provide assistance to injured workers and their families in pursuing a claim for benefits with the goal is ensuring that an injury does not cause financial devastation.

Could Reforms to OSHA Reduce Dangers On-the-Job?

The OSHA Reform Blueprint put forth by the American Society of Engineers addresses many different modifications that the Society believes are appropriate, including the following:

  • The adoption of a risk-based approach: This type of approach would involve taking a systemic view of the level of risks of particular employers. It would require proactively identifying and assessing risk, mitigating the risk, and communicating the level of risk.
  • A mandate that all employers implement safety and health programs: Such programs would force employers to take a risk-based approach that involves proactively identifying and fixing workplace hazards before someone gets hurt.
  • Focusing on fixing the top causes of on-the-job deaths. The most common causes of workplace fatalities include trips and falls, car accidents, workplace violence, and colliding with other objects or equipment. OSHA should focus more on these leading causes of death, including creating a new National Emphasis Program specifically aimed at preventing these most common causes of death.
  • Expanding the use of third-party auditors: OSHA does not have enough staff to conduct inspections, and OSHA inspections that do occur are focused on identifying violations of established workplace safety standards. Third party auditors could augment inspections performed by OSHA and could be focused more on helping employers to abate safety risks at work.
  • Providing employers with more options in settlement agreements: The American Society of Safety Engineers recommends that OSHA give employers credit towards the fines they owe for workplace safety violations if the employers invest in working with safety and health professionals and if the employers purchase new safety equipment for their worksites.
  • Making more rules through negotiated rule-making. The current process that OSHA uses to make or change rules is cumbersome and time-consuming.  If OSHA would work with stakeholders who are familiar with topics, such as with the National Fire Protection Association, the stakeholders could develop a consensus standard and the negotiated rule-making process could allow that standard to become a rule more quickly.

It is unclear whether OSHA will make any changes to better ensure worker safety.  Employees deserve to have a safe place to work, and should know their rights if they are hurt on-the-job. Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff can provide representation to injured workers and help them to pursue claims for benefits if something goes wrong at work.  Contact us today.

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