Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is tasked with inspecting work sites and enforcing federal safety regulations in order to keep 130 million American workers safe at more than 8 million work sites across the nation. In order to do this, the agency issues citations to many employers for a wide variety of safety violations. Injured workers have legal rights after a workplace accident, most notably in the no-fault workers' compensation system. A Columbia workers' compensation attorney can help injured workers identify legal causes of workplace accidents, file claims, and ensure that their legal rights are protected throughout the process.
Over time, the most common OSHA citations have remained largely unchanged. Yet in 2017, a new entry made it onto the list of common citations, demonstrating both the frequency and urgency of a particular problem. This citation was for training requirements related to fall prevention. Safety and Health Magazine interviewed the deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, who said that these violations often occur in the roofing, framing and residential modeling industries. Workers in these industries often work at heights and are subjected to an increased risk of falls as a result. Federal regulations require employers to enact training programs for any employee who may be exposed to fall hazards.
Other common citations remained the same as in previous years. These included general requirements for fall protection, hazard communications, scaffolding, respiratory protection, lockouts and tagouts for potentially hazardous energy, ladder safety protocols, powered industrial truck driver competency, machine guarding and electrical wiring methods.
How South Carolina Workers are Endangered By Safety Violations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 96 South Carolina workers were killed on the job in 2016. This was a slight decrease from the 117 workers who were killed in South Carolina workplace accidents in 2015. More than one third of these deaths were caused by transportation accidents. Yet violence, slips, trips and falls, exposure to harmful substances and contact with objects or equipment all made significant contributions to the death rate as well. The Bureau also reports that most of the workplace fatalities in South Carolina occurred in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry. The transportation and utilities industry was responsible for the second-highest number of fatalities.
Federal workplace safety regulations are more than abstract laws. Violations of these standards cause very real and devastating losses for South Carolina families. ABC News 4 reports on the death of a North Charleston worker in an accident at the Kapstone Paper Mill. The mill had been fined for several serious safety violations in the two years prior to the fatal accident. It had three citations from OSHA in 2015 and one in 2016. Then, in 2017, an accident occurred while workers were performing maintenance in an offline operating area. One worker was killed and another hospitalized.
South Carolina workers have the right to a safe workplace which conforms to federal safety regulations. Consult with a Columbia workers' compensation attorney after any workplace accident in order to protect your legal rights. An attorney can also help victims report safety violations to prevent injuries to other workers.