Although most Pennsylvania employers recognize the value of a safe work environment, some companies show a willful disregard for the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor explained that the agency takes a targeted approach to safety compliance due to limited resources. Companies that repeatedly violate safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration tend to receive enforcement actions.
High-risk industries like construction and health care attract scrutiny from regulators. The department official said that fines ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 have been imposed on employers that have shown disregard for safety regulations. She added that the companies often fight the sanctions.
The protection of whistleblowers represents another priority for safety regulators. OSHA has the responsibility to enforce 21 laws that apply to them. Approximately 3,000 complaints from whistleblowers reach the agency every year. Regulators might act on these complaints to reduce the deaths and injuries that routinely harm workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,836 people died at work in 2015. This figure translates into 13 people dying on the job every day.
A person concerned about workplace safety might ask an attorney for advice before taking action. An attorney might research how whistle-blower protection laws might shield the client after coming forward with information about an employer’s safety violations. If the person has already been hurt or sickened on the job, an attorney might explain how to apply for workers’ compensation benefits or proceed with a lawsuit against an employer. Citations from regulators and fines owed by the employer might be cited by the attorney when creating a lawsuit.