Filing an OSHA Complaint After a Construction Site Accident in Boston
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal body that oversees workplace safety throughout most places of work in the country. OSHA has outlined regulations for various specific industries as well as general safety regulations. The construction industry is no exception and employers within this industry must abide by OSHA. When an OSHA violation occurs, a serious accident may result, and employees could be injured or even killed. Employees have the power to report unsafe work conditions to OSHA.
Filing an OSHA complaint can be done in person at your local OSHA office, over the phone, or online. A complaint may be filed as soon as you notice unsafe working conditions and not just after an accident has already occurred. Complaints may be for safety violations in the workplace, or they may be “whistleblower complaints” regarding retaliation from your employer over a previous complaint to OSHA. OSHA regulations are vast and somewhat complicated if you do not know what to look for. Additionally, time is of the essence when filing a complaint because safety violations must be inspected and fixed before an accident happens.
The construction industry is inherently dangerous. If you work on a construction site in any capacity and notice safety hazards, you can file a complaint with an OSHA office in Boston. You should file your complaint with the help of an experienced attorney who can help you make sure your complaint is timely, correct, and contains all the necessary information. Call our Boston worker’s compensation attorneys for help. Contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to speak with our legal team about your case.
How to File a Complaint with OSHA in Boston
When filing a complaint with OSHA over your workplace safety conditions, you must be able to articulate exactly what makes your construction site so unsafe. A vague description of your workplace may not be enough to initiate an OSHA investigation. That is why it is important to consult with an attorney before filing your complaint. Your lawyer will know how to draft your complaint so that your workplace will be inspected. The list of OSHA regulations for construction sites is very long and you will need the help of an attorney to navigate the process.
Your complaint may be an ordinary complaint about a safety violation, or it may be a whistleblower complaint. An ordinary complaint, as previously mentioned, is about a safety hazard you believe violated OSHA regulations. A whistleblower complaint may be filed after you have previously filed a safety violation complaint. If you believe your employer has in some way retaliated against you because of your previous complaint, a whistleblower complaint may be in order.
Complaints can be filed in person at your nearest OSHA office, over the phone with an OSHA representative, by email, or using an online complaint form. Complaints cannot typically be made anonymously because an OSHA representative will respond to your complaint and ask for more information. If you fail to respond to further inquiries, your complaint will likely go nowhere. Call our Cambridge workers compensation attorney about safety concerns at your construction site.
What Are Your Rights Under OSHA After a Work Injury in Massachusetts?
After a workplace accident in Massachusetts, a worker has several rights under OSHA. These rights serve to protect the worker from any additional harm while allowing them to resolve their current workplace issues. These rights protect workers during an OSHA investigation after an accident and protect them from retaliation from disgruntled employers. If you were involved in a workplace accident or suspect your working conditions are unsafe, call our Malden workers compensation attorneys for help.
Rights During an Inspection
After an accident has occurred in your workplace, you can report the incident to OSHA. In fact, as an employee, you have a right to file a formal complaint about your workplace and request that OSHA performs an inspection. In addition, you also have a right to anonymity. When you file a complaint and request an inspection, OSHA does not tell your employer who filed the complaint or made the request. This helps prevent unjust retaliation from employers, like termination or demotion of employees.
When requesting an inspection, workers also have the right to select a representative to be present during the inspection. The representative may attend the inspection and provide additional insight into the concerns of the employee or employees who filed the complaint. The employer never selects the representative. Also, employees have a right to review the decision of any inspection.
Protections Against Retaliation
OSHA also covers workers who, unfortunately, are the victims of workplace retaliation. If, after an accident, you file a complaint and your boss terminates you as a result, you have options through OSHA. Retaliation can include more than firings. Retaliation may also include blacklisting, denying overtime, denying promotions, demotions, intimidation, threats, and pay reductions. If you feel you have faced retaliation for exercising your rights under OSHA, you may file a complaint with OSHA and have the matter investigated.
OSHA also serves to protect people who have not necessarily been injured in a workplace accident but have noticed unsafe conditions. These whistleblowers can report OSHA violations before any accident ever occurs. Even if no specific violation is identified, employees can complain about work conditions or practices they feel might not be the safest.
Workers are also protected when they refuse to work under unsafe conditions. In some cases, an employer may try to terminate an employee who refuses to work. When a refusal to work is due to unsafe working conditions, the employee may be protected from any retaliation until the matter is investigated.
Penalties for OSHA Violations in Boston
If your complaint leads to an inspection of your construction site by OSHA, and safety violations are discovered, OSHA may enforce penalties until your employer or supervisor fixes the violations. These penalties may vary depending on the nature of the violation, your employer’s history of OSHA violations, and whether anyone was hurt.
An example of an OSHA penalty for a construction site would be a stop-work order. This order would prevent anyone on the site from returning to work until all safety violations are rectified. The longer the violations are not corrected, the more time is wasted by your employer. Our Wakefield workers’ compensation attorneys can help you determine possible penalties for construction site hazards.
OSHA may also impose fines. These fines can be very costly and multiple fines may be assessed for each violation or for each day a violation is not fixed. The maximum fine for a serious violation is $13,653. OSHA will often issue deadlines by which violations must be fixed. If your employer fails to meet this deadline, they may have to pay the same fine for each day past the deadline they have failed to correct the violation. A willful or repeated violation could be met with a maximum fine of $136,532.
Using OSHA Violations to Support an Injured Worker’s Claims in Boston
If you are injured in a construction site accident, evidence of an OSHA violation by the site’s owner or supervisor can strengthen your case. Without proof of the violation from OSHA, your case may be much harder to argue. If your employer or the construction site owner fixes the safety hazard and cleans up the site, there may be no evidence left of the safety violation. You would have to rely on the evidence of your injuries and any supporting testimony from other people on the construction site in such a case.
Filing an OSHA complaint is important to your personal injury case because it may lead you to a history of OSHA violations by your employer or the site’s owner. Perhaps this is not the first construction site operated by your employer where accidents and injuries occurred. Your OSHA complaint may lead to a laundry list of past OSHA violations that can help us demonstrate liability. Call our Boston OSHA violation attorneys today to talk about gathering proof of unsafe working conditions at your construction site.
Speak with Our Boston OSHA Violation Attorneys After a Boston Construction Site Accident
If you were employed at a construction site and were injured due to unsafe working conditions, there may be OSHA violations. With the help of our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys, you can file a formal complaint and initiate an inspection of the premises. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to schedule a consultation.