Electric Company Could Be Held Liable Under OSHA

Aug 21, 2014 | WC & Other Laws

Electric company employees in Fort Collins were rushed to the hospital after an electric flash. The accident occurred when equipment failed while electrical company employees worked to restore power.  The extent of the injuries remains unknown.

On-the-job injuries cause a variety of problems. For the victim, it could mean medical expenses, days spent out of work and in the hospital, loss of earning capacity, loss of a body part, or death. If the employer failed to provide safety equipment or to do its job of providing a safe workplace environment, the employer may be fined under OSHA – the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the employer should provide its employees with a working environment that is free from recognized hazards. Among the recognized hazards include unsanitary conditions, toxic chemicals, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or excessive noise levels. Section 5 of the law requires the employers to:

1. Maintain conditions or adopt practices that are both reasonably necessary and appropriate in order to protect their workers while on the job;
2. Be familiar with and comply with standards based on their establishments; and
3. Make sure that employees have and use personal protective equipment as required for their safety and health.

It is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) that sets and enforces workplace health and safety standards. According to the regulations set forth by the OSHA, there are four criteria when it may act under Section 5 of the law:

1. A hazard must be present;
2. It must be a recognized hazard, which means that the employer knew or should have known about it, or that the said hazard is obvious, or that it is one recognized within the industry;
3. The hazard could cause or is likely to cause death or serious harm; and
4. It must be correctable.

If found to have violated the health and safety regulation, an electric company could be fined, and responsible officials might just be imprisoned. The employee can also file for workers’ compensation benefits. Despite the fact that the job of the said employee comes with a certain degree of risk, this should not prevent him to seek protection under the law.

Reporting Requirements

When hazards at work occur, every employer is required to report to the OSHA within eight hours any related incident, such as death, or when three or more employees are hospitalized. Inspectors then can enter, inspect, and investigate any incident covered by the act during regular working hours.

Employers are also required to inform the employees about the hazards in their workplace.

If the employee exercised his rights under the Act, such as filing a complaint to the OSHA or seeking an OSHA inspection, the employer is prohibited from discharging, retaliating, or discriminating against the former.

Remember that your employer should make sure that you work in a safe environment and that all safety measures are taken every single minute you are working. If you are injured in your workplace, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Kaplan Morrell attorneys help injured workers. Call Kaplan Morrell today at 303.780.7329 for a FREE CONSULTATION.