Workplace accidents in Oklahoma sometimes result in fatalities. In 2013, a total of 4,405 workers were killed on the job nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Strict state and federal laws exist to protect workers and their family's rights. But are these laws tough enough?
The federal government seems to think these laws can be tougher. That might explain why the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced new regulations concerning the reporting of fatal workplace accidents. Under the new rules which go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, managers must file a detailed report with OSHA within 8 hours of a fatal workplace accident, according to a news article published Sept. 11, 2014, by ABC News 8 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The new regulations will also require employers to report severe on-the-job injuries that do not result in death but require hospitalization within 24 hours starting January 1st. Currently, such reports only need to be filed with OSHA if three or more workers are killed or hospitalized due to a workplace accident.
"We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said in a statement quoted by ABC News 8 in Tulsa. "Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them."
Understanding workplace accidents in Oklahoma
Oklahoma workplace accident lawyers know all too well the issues raised by Secretary Perez. In many cases, many fatal or serious accidents at work can be prevented. Gathering accurate information about these accidents enables OSHA and other government organizations to assess whether current regulations protect workers from serious harm. This data can also be used to analyze exactly why certain accidents happen at work and develop solutions to prevent similar accidents in the future.
Government inspectors and regulators work tirelessly to prevent accidents from happening at work. But it's important to remember that these organizations do not work directly for people injured on the job. Organizations like OSHA focus on preventing workplace injuries and punishing companies that violate workplace safety laws. OSHA does not work on behalf of injured workers to make sure workers' families receive compensation for a serious or fatal workplace accident.
What should I do if I'm dealing with a workplace accident in Oklahoma?
If you or a loved was seriously injured or killed in an accident at work in Oklahoma, you need an experienced Oklahoma workplace accident attorney on your side looking out for your best interests. This is essential, because workplace accidents can quickly become extremely complicated and very expensive.
You need to make sure that you and your family receives the compensation you rightfully deserve for a workplace accident. It's also important to have someone working exclusively for you investigating your workplace accident. Don't simply assume that OSHA or anyone else will thoroughly investigate your accident. Make sure you have a lawyer you trust working for you and fighting for your family's rights.
Workers compensation benefits available to workers, families in Oklahoma
Many injured workers and their families are eligible for workers' compensation after a workplace accident. According to Oklahoma's Workers' Compensation Act, employers must provide workers' compensation benefits to employees who become ill or sustain an injury on the job. Workers' compensation benefits cover a wide range, including:
- Lost wages - If you or a loved one cannot work due to a workplace injury or illness, your family should be compensated for lost wages.
- Lost future earnings - Some workplace injuries prevent people from working for months, years or even the rest of their lives. These future earnings need to be taking into account when determining workers comp benefits.
- Medical expenses - Workplace injuries often result in astronomical medical bills. Your family should not have to pay for an illness or injury sustained on the job.
- Permanent disability benefits - Phrase used to describe benefits paid to sick or injured workers permanently disabled due to a workplace illness or on-the-job injury.
- Temporary total disability benefits - Term used for benefits provided for injured or sick workers who cannot work for an extended period of time due to a serious medical issue.
- Temporary partial disability benefits - Phrase used for benefits provided to injured or sick workers who can only work in a limited capacity due to a disabling injury or illness.
- Death benefits - Benefits paid to family members whose loved one died due to a workplace illness or on-the-job injury.
An attorney at Lawter & Associates, Attorneys at Law, PLLC can work with you on your workplace accident or fatality. Call 866-584-1027 or 866-584-1028 for a free case evaluation.