Weakening of OSHA May Lead to More Personal Injury Lawsuits

The number of personal injury lawsuits brought in America could increase if President Donald Trump weakens the enforcement regime of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, experts predict.

The predictions of an increase in personal injury lawsuits came in an article by Business Insurance.

The article said many industry observers expect a likely possible consequence of the deregulating of OSHA would be a rise in private enforcement via personal injury lawsuits.

In a little-reported change this month, President Donald Trump signed a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal OSHA’s so-called “Volks” rule. This conferred an obligation on employers to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injury and illness data. Further measures are expected.

Trump signed the measure (H.J. Res 83) into law April 4 after it passed through Congress. It nullifies a rule that gave OSHA the power to enforce recordkeeping requirements for five-and-a-half years instead of six months. Although employers will still have to maintain injury and illness records, OSHA’s enforcement role will be weakened, reported Safety and Health magazine.

weakening of OSHA may lead to more personal injury lawsuits

Jordan Barab, a former top OSHA official, criticized Trump’s decision on Twitter.

“Trump signs repeal of OSHA Volks Rule,” he tweeted. “More workers hurt, sickened and killed in the workplace.”

Although willful violations of health and safety rules given out by OSHA frequently trigger personal injury lawsuits, personal injury attorneys don’t have to wait for an OSHA violation to file a lawsuit against an employer.

If the OSHA regime is weakened, we may see more negligence on behalf of employers and more serious accidents and injuries in the workplace. The result will be more personal injury lawsuits. While injured workers can claim worker’s compensation, this no-fault system seldom covers all of their medical needs. When an employer is at fault for an injury, a personal injury lawsuit can be brought.

In Hampton Roads, we see some terrible injuries as well as deaths at work sites including accidents at shipyards, car repair facilities and on building sites. Safety standards are questionable at many of these locations. We are alarmed at any loosening of the regulations that will encourage employers to cut more corners.

Last year, we noted the 10 most dangerous jobs in America. Logging headed the list of jobs with the highest fatality rate. Fishermen, roofers and recycling workers were all in the top five.

Earlier this year, a worker was badly injured at Suffolk Recycling in Suffolk. At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we help workers who are badly injured. I also represent railroad workers in lawsuits brought under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Please call us for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.

John Cooper

 

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