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Responsibility of an employer in workplace accidents

As Louisiana workers may know, an employer has the responsibility to provide a safe workplace for employees. To meet these requirements, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides standards that help employers meet their obligations. In addition, depending on the number of people a firm employs, the employer might be required to have workers' compensation insurance.

In addition to following safety regulations, the employer must make a dutiful attempt to keep employees safe. This employer obligation may take the form of training exercises, maintaining equipment and informing employees of potential hazards in the workplace in a way that is clearly understandable. If hazardous substances are part of the work environment, the employer may institute a plan to avoid injury and ensure that employees are aware of the necessary safety precautions.

The obligation to carry workers' compensation insurance is mandatory. Not doing so could mean fines or criminal charges against the employer. If an employer has more than the minimum number of employees, this requirement is enforced. Usually, smaller companies purchase the insurance from a workers' compensation carrier. Bigger companies might be able to self-insure.

States provide an approved formula outlining benefits that are covered. When an employee is injured at work, the employer must fill out a report describing the injury and send it to the workers' compensation insurance carrier. If a request for additional information is received, that must be provided. If a worker who is injured on the job files a claim for workers' compensation, the employer is obligated not to institute any discriminatory or retaliatory actions against the employee.

An injured employee may be unaware of his or her rights and may benefit from speaking with an attorney. The attorney may help the employee file a claim. If the claim is denied, the attorney may help appeal the denial.

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