Who is Liable for OSHA Violations in Nebraska?
In most cases, the employer is liable for workplace safety hazards that violate OSHA; the general contractor can often be held liable even if a subcontractor is the one that caused the hazard.
Accidents that happen at places of business or work sites and cause serious injuries are rare enough that you can probably remember every time you have ever witnessed one, even if you work in a relatively high-risk career such as construction. Safety regulations work so well that, most of the time, you do not notice them. To prevent work accidents, workers should report violations of workplace safety laws to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you have been injured in a work accident involving an OSHA violation or are involved in a dispute about a workplace safety hazard, contact an Omaha workers’ compensation lawyer.
Employers’ Responsibility for Workplace Safety Under OSHA
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 provided for the creation of OSHA as a federal agency. OSHA sets standards for workplace safety and requires employers to maintain these standards. OSHA imposes the following responsibilities on employers to ensure that their employees keep the workplace safe from preventable dangers:
- Providing workplace safety training for new employees upon hiring, as well as periodic safety trainings for current employees
- Filling out workplace accident reports promptly after an accident and keeping them for as long as the law requires
- Keeping medical records associated with workplace injuries
- Providing appropriate safety equipment for employees, including but not limited to helmets, goggles, and safety harnesses
OSHA requires employers to pay a fine when OSHA inspectors notice a safety hazard in the workplace, even if no one has been injured. Since it is the employer’s responsibility to train employees about safety standards, it follows that it is the employer’s responsibility if the employee violates one of the standards, such as storing hazardous materials in an unsafe way or failing to implement fall protection measures when building a roof.
Many construction projects involve a general contractor employing one or more subcontractors. Unless the contract between the general contractor and the subcontractor specifies otherwise, the general contractor is legally responsible for OSHA violations even if the person who committed the violation is an employee of a subcontractor. If the contract between the general contractor and the subcontractor contains a tailored indemnity clause stating that the subcontractor bears responsibility for its own OSHA violations, then the general contractor is not responsible for the subcontractor’s safety hazards. Employees are only liable if the OSHA violation was a matter of extraordinary negligence on the employee’s part (such as riding a motorcycle across a construction site, lighting fireworks inside a warehouse, or some other egregiously dangerous act).
Contact Andres Law Offices, PC LLO About OSHA Violations
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled if your work injury was related to a violation of OSHA safety standards. Contact Andres Law Offices, PC LLO in Omaha, Nebraska about your case.