“No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of workmust provide safe working conditions for its people.”
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
The Injured Worker Lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are frequently in front of workers who are unaware of their rights. This can lead to workplace injuries, sometimes life altering accidents. Below you will find a list of 5 core things that an injured worker needs to know. Hopefully this list will play some small role in reducing the number of serious workplace accidents.
- #1-Training should be conducted in a language that the worker understands. Far too often companies falsely claim to train their employees in a detailed and comprehensive fashion. In reality, some non-English speaking employees are forced to attend training programs conducted entirely in English. This practice ignores the core goal of adequately training workers to effectively and safely perform their job. Every worker has a right to be trained in a language they understand. If they are not afforded this opportunity they have a legal right to speak up without any fear that their employer will take any retaliatory action. It is not easy for a worker who depends on a paycheck to speak up and report their employer. However, doing so can prevent a serious accident and create a safer worker environment for all employees of the company.
- #2-Machines and tools supplied to the worker must be safe. This sounds simple but the number of times this elementary right gets ignored is astounding. Workers are seriously injured and/or killed when employers take this right for granted.
- #3 Workers are entitled to appropriate safety equipment. Another easy one, right? Wrong. We see a staggering number of cases, senseless accidents, where a worker is not provided the most basic safety equipment. Harnesses, helmets, protective eye gear and gloves are things every worker should have access to. In fact, employers and supervisors should be mandating that all workers be provided and use these safety devices. Instead, workers are often compelled to work in dangerous conditions because it is much more convenient to ignore safety than to embrace it.
- #4 Workers have a right to complain. A worker or someone on their behalf may file a complaint if they are not provided with a safe place to work. The complaint may be filed by the worker personally or by someone who is authorized to do so. In our practice we have seen union leaders, attorneys, politicians, religious leaders, relatives and safety focused organizations file complaints on behalf of vulnerable workers. The complaints may be filed with OSHA, The Department of Buildings or even a local police agency. Every worker will have justifiable concerns about filing a complaint. Complaints filed with OSHA and the Department of Buildings may be kept confidential at the request of the complainant.
- #5 If a worker is injured on the job they can require that a report be generated documenting how the accident happened and what their injuries are. In the Workers rarely pay attention to this important right. A report is not generated far too often in the confusion after a work accident. A worker has a right to demand that a report is crafted after an accident. The report should include a synopsis of how the accident happened and what, if any, injuries are being claimed. The worker should also have an opportunity to provide his or her explanation about the circumstances of the accident and what physical complaints they may have. This report may be critical in documenting your accident and allowing you to reserve your rights to bring a Worker’s Compensation claim and or Third party lawsuit.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that prides itself on fighting for injured workers. The lawyers have a track record of persuading juries and insurance companies to award their clients very large sums of money. They have generated more reported results that exceed $1 million for their clients than any other firm in New York State over the last 5 years.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a serious work accident you should strongly consider consulting with an experienced attorney. You may contact the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy for a free consultation any time by calling 212-736-5300.