Employee safety is an integral part of any company’s responsibility.
According to the Occupational safety and health Act (OSHA Act) of 1970, Every company has the responsibility to protect their employee against workplace hazards.
Anyway, some companies are already doing well in this regard. In the USA, these companies doing well are regarded as the safest companies to work with and they take employee safety very seriously. You can read this article to take a look at them.
However, Some companies are not taking employee safety very seriously. And workers are liable to get injured in such workplaces.
No employee is permitted to get an injury from engaging in work. No employee has to suffer because an employer failed to engage in employee safety.
The post topic says, can an employer be sued for employee safety negligence?
Well, In this article, as we read through it. We will see the answers.
Who are the employer and employee?
According to the OSH act of 1970, The term “employer” means a person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, but does not include the United States (not including the United States Postal Service) or any State or political subdivision of a State.”
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On the other hand, “employee” means an employee of an employer who is employed in a business of his employer which affects commerce.
This alone will give you an overview of who an employer and employee are.
However, employers have huge responsibilities over the safety of their employees in many ways are listed below.
Employer’s responsibilities are
- Provide a safe workplace for the workers
- Ensure that the workplace conforms to OSHA standards.
- Provide safe tools and equipment to employees.
- Ensure timely updates of work procedures and make workers follow safe work procedures.
- Provision of safety training for workers.
- Hazard communication programs are to be made available to workers against hazardous chemicals.
- Using safety signs and posters to warn workers of hazards in the workplace
- Ensure there is a provision of medical examination for workers when required by OSHA standards.
- Post the employee’s rights and responsibilities to them at a visible location in the workplace.
- Avoid discrimination of any kind against employees when they do whistleblowing.
- Remember to keep records of workplace incidents and injuries and make them available when needed.
Can a company be sued in the USA for being employee safety negligent?
There is no straight answer or clear-cut response to the above question. But, under the worker’s compensation system, employers are obligated to compensate an injured worker for injuries without any thorny questions of raising the blame on anyone.
In this arrangement, the employee will get the compensation claim paid out. And the employer will continue the work without wasting anybody’s time. This prevents the lengthy legal litigation that would have existed by this arrangement.
However, this also shields the employer from legal liability while paying into the no-fault worker’s compensation system.
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What happens when there is gross negligence of an employee’s safety?
When there is gross negligence of an employee’s safety by an employer. The company can be sued for not caring enough about employee safety.
A case of gross negligence can be provided with evidence of what the employer did wrong. Or what they didn’t do enough. Especially in cases where there is reason to believe that employer was at fault.
Yes. A company can be sued for employee safety negligence. But it’s been advised that employers shouldn’t get to the point where they will face litigation for not performing their roles and responsibilities as stipulated in the OSH act of 1970.
Employee safety is important and key to productivity at work. We have to discourage creating an unsafe workplace and allowing negligence of employee safety to get to the point where safety is so far out of hand.
Complex litigations do nobody any good but rather waste precious time; time that could have been for good use.
In most incidents, employees are rarely held for unsafe behaviours by OSHA. But not in cases where there is a flagrant violation of the OSH Act by the employer.
Moreover, some OSHA penalties can make companies lose tens of thousands of dollars.
Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.