With the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, the federal government gained the authority to set and enforce safety and health standards for most U.S. workers. This authority rests with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Under the OSH Act, employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace. The specific OSHA regulations that construction industry employers must abide by are laid out in federal statutes.
To enforce these regulations, OSHA reserves the right to perform unannounced worksite inspections. Workers also have the right to request an OSHA inspection.
OSHA typically performs a worksite inspection following a serious accident. If it finds any safety violations, OSHA may fine the employer. Repeat violations and violations that result in worker deaths carry harsh penalties, including possible imprisonment.
You don’t need to prove an OSHA violation in order to receive South Carolina workers’ compensation, but a violation may be used as evidence of third-party negligence.
Learn more about federal safety violations and your ability to seek compensation for a construction accident by contacting Joye Law Firm. Our attorneys have nearly 250 years of combined litigation experience and have helped many clients recover money for medical expenses, lost earnings, disability and more.
Call Joye Law Firm now or contact us online to schedule a free case review.
OSHA Construction Regulations
Aspects of construction work that OSHA has created health and safety regulations for include:
- Safety training and education
- The providing and wearing of personal protective equipment
- Safely using and maintaining tools
- Posting signs, signals and barricades
- Fall protection
- Motor vehicles and mechanized equipment
- Toxic and hazardous substances
Commonly Violated Regulations
OSHA publishes an annual list of the most frequently cited standards so employers can find and address them in advance of OSHA inspections. In a recent year, some of the most frequently cited OSHA standards involved:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Electrical wiring methods
- Powered industrial trucks (forklifts)
- Lockout/tagout (control of hazardous energy)
Penalties for Violation
Any employer who violates OSHA requirements may be subject to fines ranging from $5,000-$70,000 per violation. Employers who fail to correct a previously cited violation may receive similar fines for each day the violation continues.
The strongest penalties – fines of $10,000-$20,000 and imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year – are imposed on employers who commit violations that cause an employee’s death.
Third-Party Lawsuits Involving OSHA Violations
Workers’ compensation isn’t dependent on employer negligence or the negligence of co-workers. However, you must show negligence if you wish to prevail in a lawsuit against a non-employer third party. A third-party lawsuit may be filed against a subcontractor, a general contractor, a property owner, a vendor or others who were to blame for the construction accident.
An OSHA violation alone may not establish third-party negligence, but it could be used as solid evidence of negligence. The strongest evidence of this sort would be an actual violation recorded by OSHA, but an alleged OSHA violation (one that is factually supported) may suffice.
Protect Your Interests. Just Call Joye Law Firm.
If your injuries are serious and other parties contributed to them, workers’ compensation may be inadequate. Ensure that your interests are fully protected by discussing your case with an experienced South Carolina construction accident attorney at Joye Law Firm.
We’ve helped injured clients recover the compensation they deserve for more than 40 years. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Call Joye Law Firm now or complete an online form for a free consultation.
- U.S. Department of Labor/Occupational Safety & Health Administration:
- SEC. 17. Penalties
- Safety and Health Regulations for Construction
- Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards
- The Job Safety Law of 1970: Its Passage Was Perilous