Laws creating standards for worker safety were at one time non-existent in the U.S. Beginning in the closing years of the 19th century a handful of states began establishing protections for certain workers in specific industries, and the first federal laws addressing the subject were passed in the early 20th century. But it was not until 1970 that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted with a stated goal of improving workplace safety and health for all workers in New Jersey and across America. Despite OSHA’s immersion in every sector of the workplace, some disturbing safety statistics are being reported.
An increase in the number of workplace fatalities over previous years is being seen, according to an AFL-CIO report. When the totals for those workers who die each day from a particular hazard is combined with those who die from occupational disease due to prolonged exposure to toxins, more American workers are dying each day. While it has long been true that certain types of jobs pose greater risks to workers, recent statistics indicate certain categories of workers are at greater risk of fatality.
For instance, the agricultural, forestry, fishing and hunting sector historically has been a dangerous field to work in. Construction workers and miners also have consistently high accident and fatality rates. But there seems to be little explanation for the findings that older workers as well as Latino workers have statistically higher risks of dying at work than the national average.
Workers’ compensation benefits may be available to those who have been injured in workplace accidents. A violation of OSHA standards may or may not be relevant in the investigation of the matter. Either way, a workers’ compensation lawyer can be instrumental in protecting a worker’s rights.