OSHA Violations & Workplace Safety Hazards
Getting hurt while on the job can be devastating to you and your family. It may force you out of work for weeks or months or dramatically alter your career prospects. Worse yet, a catastrophic injury could end your career. When you are suffering and wondering how you are going to pay the bills, it is time to contact an experienced Houston work accident lawyer to find out about obtaining compensation.
While some on-the-job accidents are unforeseeable flukes, many are the result of inadequate training or equipment, unsafe conditions, insufficient supervision, and careless or reckless behavior. These workplace safety hazards may be more than a problem for you and other workers – they may rise to the level of a state or federal health or safety violation. When you have evidence of a violation in relation to your injury, you should speak with an attorney right away. While a health or safety violation may not affect a workers’ compensation claim, it may be proof of negligence necessary for a personal injury claim.
If your injuries were the result of your employer’s or a third party’s negligence, you may be able to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation. Contact the proven Houston work accident lawyers of The Krist Law Firm, P.C. to learn more about your rights and legal options, including whether to pursue a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. Call us today at 281-283-8500 .
OSHA Regulations in Texas
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations apply to private businesses and nonprofits throughout Texas. Federal regulators maintain inspections and standards throughout the private sector. However, for public employers and farmworkers, Texas has adopted hazard communication requirements. These are overseen by the Department of State and Health Services and the Department of Agriculture.
If you were injured because of a workplace safety hazard, whether or not this danger amounts to a regulatory violation depends on whether your employer is part of the public or private sector and which health and safety regulations apply to them. A safety hazard at a private workplace may rise to the level of an OSHA violation. A danger at a public workplace, such as a government office or public school, may be a violation of the hazard communication standard or it may not be a fineable offense at all.
OSHA Violations and Workers’ Compensation
Employers are required to maintain a reasonably safe work environment for their employees, which includes following all Texas health and safety regulations and other pertinent federal laws, such as OSHA regulations. When an employer violates a health and safety regulation, they are not upholding their legal duty to provide a safe workplace. If you were hurt due to a workplace safety hazard, then your employer may be liable for a regulatory citation and fine and compensating you for your injuries.
If you are covered by the Texas workers’ compensation insurance system, then you may file a workers’ comp claim to cover the cost of your medical expenses and to supplement your income while unable to work. When you have workers’ compensation, a claim is your exclusive remedy. You are not entitled to sue your employer for your injury, unless there is evidence of gross negligence or an intentional act or omission.
Under the workers’ compensation system, you do not have to prove negligence to obtain benefits. Instead, you must show you suffered or are currently suffering from a medical condition or injury and this condition or injury was acquired based on your work. An OSHA or state safety violation may be used to show you were hurt while working. However, this may not be necessary. Also, a safety violation or evidence of negligence does not change the benefits you are entitled to receive under workers’ compensation.
OSHA Violations and Personal Injury Claims
If your employer is a nonsubscriber, meaning they chose not to carry workers’ compensation insurance, then you may have the right to file a personal injury claim based on your employer’s negligence to recover compensation. Sometimes your employer will carry other types of insurance that may cover some of your expenses. However, in Texas, these other types of insurance do not equate to workers’ compensation. They are not your exclusive remedy to recover for your work-related injury and do not bar you from filing a personal injury suit.
If you decide to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, then you will have to prove negligence in order to obtain compensation. In this situation, documentation of a state health or safety violation or an OSHA violation can be important to your case. A workplace safety hazard that amounts to a regulatory violation may be strong evidence that your employer did not uphold its duty to provide a safe workplace and was therefore negligent toward you.
Our Houston Workplace Accident Attorneys Can Help with OSHA Violation Claims
The Houston work accident lawyers of The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have years of experience helping injured workers like you understand their rights and pursue compensation. Our priority is always to help you maintain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries so that you and your family can move forward with your lives.
We have experience in helping workers in a variety of industries, including
- Train and rail
- Transportation and trucking
- Other high-risk industries