OSHA findings may spur workers' compensation claims

Common injuries that happen on the job include a broken limb or head injury that may impact a worker's ability to do their job. Less common but equally serious injuries include chemical or dust exposures that can cause very serious health repercussions. Massachusetts workers who suffer such injuries may want to be aware that their exposure to various airborne substances may have been impacted by the workplace so that if it is appropriate they may bring a claim for workers' compensation.

In a recent case, OSHA investigated a company for safety violations. The company works primarily with metals in a foundry. The type of work performed in the environment creates the potential for workers to be exposed to significant amounts of silica dust and other hazards while they work at the foundry.

Following the investigation, the company was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA determined that the business had 28 violations of federal law, and three were repeat violations. The employer is noted as showing a lack of commitment to its workers' well-being. Lack of sufficient respiratory protection was a key issue in OSHA's review of the site, and the related medical evaluations are required under law were not in place either. Serious violations under OSHA indicate a substantial probability of serious or fatal injury.

Individuals who work at sites such as this one may be impacted by the environment and the lack of sufficient respiratory protection. Such exposure may lead to serious health problems. Individuals in Massachusetts who seek workers' compensation based on such exposures may want to be informed about the nature of the OSHA violations and the seriousness of the health problems they may face as a result. Workers' compensation is designed to offer insurance coverage to those employees who are injured or become ill on the job, including respiratory and other health problems related to exposure to dust particles and toxic chemicals.

Source: recyclingtoday.com, "OSHA Fines Foundry for Exposing Workers to Crystalline Silica Dust," March 12, 2013

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