Making laws to significantly reduce the number of workplace accidents and fatalities is one thing; enforcing and observing these is another. Thus, despite the passing into law of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) in 1970 and the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971, OSH Act’s offshoot, workplace accidents, especially in construction sites, still remained quite high.
OSHA definitely had a major effect in the reduction of workplace accidents (about 60% compared to the number before it was created), but it appeared it was not enough since there were still employers and employees who either reluctantly observed its stipulations or were too stubborn to implement it in their respective companies, resulting to 4,500 fatalities and 4.1 million serious injuries every year for the past couple of years.
In the construction industry, 849 lives were lost in 2012 plus a preliminary count of 824 for the year 2013. The major causes of accidents, according to OSHA, are the “Fatal Four,” or top four, which include falls (falling from a high place), electrocution, getting caught between objects (like two heavy equipment), and being struck. Based on this OSHA data, the law firm of Hach & Rose, LLP, cites in an article (posted on its website) the big responsibility of manufacturers of machinery, general contractors and property owners, in making sure that all construction equipment and construction sites are safe from anything that can cause or contribute to causes of accidents.
OSHA’s dedication to ensuring safety in the workplace and health of workers led to the introduction of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP or I2P2), which OSHA began requiring on employers in 2010. I2P2 is a simple, practical way of helping employers locate all possible workplace hazards and fix these before workers get hurt. The program includes management leadership, participation of workers, identification of hazards, hazard control and prevention, education and training, and evaluation and further improvement of the program. Employers who have implemented the program in their respective workplaces were unanimous in affirming the many positive results of the program, such as a dramatic drop in the number of workplace injuries, improvement in the quality of work, increase in productivity, higher level of worker satisfaction, and so forth.
In construction sites where accidents continue to happen due to employers still ignoring the stipulations of OSHA or because of very poor management style, workers sustaining any kind of injury may be eligible to apply for the Workers’ compensation benefit and may have the right to file a lawsuit against their respective employer if it can be proven that the accident was due to the employer’s direct act of negligence. Along this thought, it, therefore, becomes quite necessary for the injured worker to seek immediate assistance from a qualified Oklahoma personal injury lawyer to know and learn about the possible legal options he/she has. Furthermore, he/she will definitely need a strong argument and the best fight for his/her rights and interests, according to the website of the personal injury lawyers at the Abel Law Firm.