Strained Resources for OSHA Inspections Undermine Efforts to Prevent Atlanta Work Accidents

An Atlanta work accident lawyer can help workers and their families after a work injury causes financial loss. Many people need costly and invasive medical treatment after workplace injuries. For some workers, life never returns to normal and going back to work is impossible. While workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to take care of those who have been damaged due to workplace incidents, many families still struggle financially and permanent injuries can also have a significant impact on quality of life. business signing

Preventing workplace injuries should always be the top goal in order to help make sure as few people as possible have their lives torn apart due to injuries on the job. Unfortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is not able to do nearly enough inspections to prevent work injuries from occurring. Safety News Alert reported on one OSHA area director who made candid comments about the challenges associated with trying to do enough inspections.

Atlanta Work Injury Prevention Efforts Hurt By Lack of Inspections

An OSHA director described the situation that inspectors face as an untenable one because the inspectors are “inundated.” OSHA’s budget has declined from $554 million in 2004 to $529 million in 2014, leaving less money available to fund inspector salaries and to provide resources for inspections.

Compounding the problem is the fact that new OSHA reporting requirements went into effect on January 1. Employers used to be required to report workplace incidents that led to the hospitalization of at least three workers. Now, if even one worker is hospitalized, the incident must be reported to OSHA. All injuries leading to the loss of an eye or to an amputation must also now be reported.

While these new injury reporting requirements could be instrumental in helping to identify work conditions that led to serious injuries, area officers are being forced to deal with all of these additional reports- without extra staff to bear the burden of doing the inspections when reports of injury occur. This is putting a further strain on already limited budgets and OSHA inspectors are doing even less preventative inspections to identify problems that could lead to injuries before the injuries happen.

The result of so few OSHA inspections for prevention mean that most employers are aware that they can likely go for years or even decades without an inspector coming to check on work conditions. Based on current staffing levels, it would take OSHA in excess of 100 years to inspect every single facility that is under the agency’s jurisdiction- so obviously it is not practical to expect that workplaces will be inspected with any regularity. Unfortunately, employers can take advantage of the lack of inspections to court corners and avoid fixing conditions that endanger workers.

When a worker is hurt, employer negligence does not matter in terms of workers’ comp benefits. However, an employer who has violated OSHA rules could face fines and additional penalties for any workplace safety violations that existed.

The Atlanta accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a work accident. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.