Workers’ Compensation Claims - OSHA Violations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for creating and enforcing safety protocols to protect workers in the United States. Every employee has the right to work in a safe environment that follows the safety protocols. Often, these requirements should be addressed, leading to an employee being injured. The workers’ compensation process is already challenging, but it’s even more difficult if you believe your employer has violated OSHA requirements. If you work for the federal government and would like to file a complaint, you will report it to the federal OSHA department. However, if you are an employee of state or local government in California or you are considered a private employee who works in California, you are covered by Cal/OSHA and will report complaints to them. Our Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys will tell you everything you need to know and guide you through filing a complaint with OSHA.
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, is the department in charge of monitoring and improving the health and safety of workers in California. Cal/OSHA is responsible for creating and enforcing standards, outreach, and issuing permits, licenses, certifications, registrations, and approvals. Cal/OSHA has an enforcement branch responsible for investigating complaints and accidents. Typical complaints include workplace hazards or serious violations received from employees or law enforcement. Cal/OSHA also investigates workplace accidents that result in serious injury, illness, or death.
Accidents in the workplace are widespread. Back injuries can happen if you slip and land on your back, fall from a high place and hurt your back, or from an object falling on your back. Construction workers, firefighters, nurses, cleaners, janitors, and building maintenance workers have a high risk of back injuries.
Every year, OSHA publishes a list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards. Some of this year’s most commonly cited OSHA standards included:
- Fall protection
- Respiratory protection
- Eye and face protection
- Hearing protection
- Asbestos and other dangerous substances (exposure prevention)
- Hazard communication
If you are concerned about workplace safety or health hazards, the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 gives you the right to file a complaint against your employer. When you submit a complaint, your name is kept confidential unless you request to include it.
Please feel free to file a complaint by calling or emailing the nearest Cal/OSHA district office. The Sacramento District Office phone number is (916) 263-2800. Cal/OSHA recommends you gather as much information as possible for your call, especially the following information:
- Your name, address, phone number, and email address
- The name, type of business, address, and telephone number of the worksite
- The name and job title of the worksite manager
- Number of employees
- Equipment and chemicals used at the worksite
- A detailed description of the hazard involved in the complaint
- Tasks performed near the danger and length of time to complete the task
- Number of employees exposed or injured by the threat and whether they received medical treatment or not
- How long has the hazard existed, and how long do you expect it to last
- If the employer knows about the danger and if the employer has tried to correct it
- How long is the hazard expected to continue
After filing a complaint, Cal/OSHA will determine if your claim is valid and if an investigation is necessary to evaluate your claim. If your claim results from death or serious physical harm, Cal/OSHA will investigate your claim immediately. If your complaint is severe but did not result in death, Cal/OSHA will typically open an investigation within three days of receiving the complaint. However, if your claim is not a severe violation, Cal/OSHA can wait up to two weeks to open an investigation.
Any employee who experienced or has witnessed a health or safety code violation can file a complaint with OSHA. OSHA protects employees when they file complaints against their employers and forbids employers from firing those employees. Employees can also authorize a representative, like their spouse, attorney, social worker, government official, or labor organization, to file a complaint. If you have been retaliated against for filing an OSHA complaint, you have the right to file a discrimination complaint.
OSHA does not cover some occupations. OSHA does not protect industries like mining, transportation, nuclear energy, and weapons manufacturers because other federal laws manage workers’ safety.
If you have been subjected to unsafe working conditions and need help filing a complaint, contact a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation. We can explain the difference between OSHA and Cal/OSHA, the most frequently cited OSHA violations, and how to file a complaint with Cal/OSHA. If you want to learn more about your options, contact one of our lawyers at Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, P.C.