Employers are responsible for workplace safety in Pennsylvania

Employers are obligated to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Injured workers may be eligible for workers' compensation.

Employers in Pennsylvania and across the country are obligated to provide a safe work environment for their employees. Employers can minimize the risk of workplace injuries by ensuring their spaces are hazard-free. Unfortunately, some companies continue to practice unsafe work habits that put the lives of workers in danger. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, 4,585 workers lost their lives to workplace accidents in 2013. That same year, more than 50,000 people died as the result of occupational illnesses.

One Pennsylvania worker lost his life in a tragic accident at a sugar plant, when an essential safety screen to prevent clogging was removed from a machine. According to ProPublica, a manager had taken the safety device out of the machine 13 days before the man's death because he thought that the part was hindering production. The 50-year-old temp worker had climbed into the machine to break up the massive sugar clumps that were blocking the main funnel. When a co-worker looked at the machine, the man was buried in sugar. After an investigation by OSHA, the plant was fined just over $18,000 for the incident.

Temporary workers

According to an article published in ProPublica, temporary workers are more likely to suffer from on-the-job injuries, such as lacerations, fractures, dislocations, punctures and crushing injuries, than permanent employees. One reason for this increased risk is that many temporary workers are not properly trained on safety procedures. While permanent employees may be put through a training program, many temporary workers are not. In some cases, workers who only spoke Spanish were asked to fill out forms in English. Not only does this put the temp worker's life in danger, but it also endangers the lives of people working alongside the improperly trained worker.

Collecting workers' compensation

Employees who are injured on the job or develop a chronic illness due to unhealthy work conditions may be able to collect workers' compensation benefits. According to the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, a worker who had a previous injury that was aggravated by a workplace incident may also be eligible for benefits. These benefits can help cover medical expenses from injuries sustained during a workplace accident or help to pay for lost wages while the employee is recovering.

When to seek legal assistance

If you have been injured on-the-job, you may be physically restricted and unable to return to work. Costly medical bills may be accumulating in the meantime. In Pennsylvania, there are certain dates and deadlines for reporting workplace accidents and filing a workers' compensation claim. A workers' compensation attorney in Pennsylvania can listen to the details of your case and help you explore your options.

Keywords: work, injury, workers' compensation