Employees injured or killed at work may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. All employers with more than three employees are required by Georgia law to provide different types of benefits under the state workers' compensation system. These benefits include wage and medical benefits, as well as permanent disability benefits for those who suffer from a permanent disability as a result of a work-related incident. The State Board of Workers' Compensation administers rules for all employers in Georgia. Additionally, there are other organizations and agencies that protect the rights of workers, including the United States Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA").
Recently, in Nashville, Georgia, a leading manufacturer of fiberglass boats was cited and issued proposed fines for one repeated and two serious safety violations. A press release issued by OSHA stated that they initiated this follow-up inspection after issuing serious citations to the company in July 2013.
The repeated citation was issued for exposing employees to dust particulates at a level above permissible exposure limits. The company had been cited for this same violation at their facility in December 2013. These serious violations included a failure to provide employees required to wear respiratory protection with medical evaluations, as well as a failure to implement engineering/administrative controls that would have minimized employee exposure to airborne particulates.
OSHA stated that this leading manufacturer of fiberglass boats must protect their workers from known safety and health hazards. Excessive dust from cutting and grinding operations is an example of a known hazard. Exposure to these airborne particulates can lead to long-term respiratory disease. The director of OSHA's Savannah Area Office stated that all employers are expected to anticipate and control potential health hazards in their work environment.
The company has 15 business days after receiving the OSHA proposed penalty to comply, request a conference with the area director for OSHA, or contest the findings before an independent OSHA review commission.
OSHA works to reduce the number of on-the-job injuries and fatalities that take place in Georgia and throughout the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 serves to lower the number of job-related accidents and fatalities that take place across the United States. Employers throughout the nation must provide their employees with a safe workplace, free from foreseeable health and safety hazards. Failing to maintain a safe workplace makes companies liable for fines and other penalties.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries at work in Atlanta or the surrounding areas, you have legal rights. Discuss your situation with a skilled workers' compensation attorney in order to preserve your right to benefits. You may be entitled to financial support and protection. Contact the Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford to receive a free, confidential consultation. We can be reached by calling (770) 922-3660 or using our online form.