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Labor officials working to improve safety at the workplace

Across the country, 4,836 work-related deaths occurred during 2015, which consisted of 13 fatalities each day or 93 fatalities each week, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In lieu of these facts, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor says she wants to improve workplace safety by ensuring the Occupational Safety and Health Act is enforced.

The report also noted that around 3 million occupational illnesses and injuries transpired during 2015. Some of the illnesses and injuries include egregious burns, cancer and amputations. While these workplace illnesses and injuries are extremely expensive, companies lose a significant amount of money because of a production and high workers' compensation costs. In fact, non-fatal work-related injuries in 2015 amounted to 902,000 missed days.

The solicitor's office is planning to prioritize employer outreach and enforcement efforts through smart strategizing. It also will continue targeting egregious and repeat offenders in industries where employees are exposed to serious hazards, such as in the health care field where employees risk exposure to blood-borne pathogens and the construction industry where workers rely on adequate safety equipment to protect them from falling objects and other hazards.

OSHA also closely works with the solicitor's office regarding whistle-blower complaints. Whenever they receive these types of complaints, they take them seriously. In fact, along with enforcing the OSH Act, OSHA imposes 21 whistleblower statutes and receives around 3,000 whistle-blower complaints annually. The attorney noted that it is important that employees report hazardous working conditions and urged them to remind employers not to cut back on safety in an effort to be competitive.

Besides heeding to OSHA safety rules and regulations, most employers are obligated to provide workers' compensation coverage for any employee who is hurt on the job. A workers' compensation lawyer could offer helpful advice to an employee who was denied these benefits. Source: SHRM, "Solicitor of Labor's Office Is Committed to Improving Workplace Safety", Lisa Nagele-Piazza, March 9, 2017

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