Working in a high-risk job brings unique challenges and dangers for employees. Yet, someone needs to do these jobs, such as extinguishing fires, operating nuclear reactors, and climbing tall buildings. Did you know that millions of people work in such roles? The construction sector has the highest workplace death rate in the US. Likewise, fatalities among protective service occupations witnessed a surge of 10.9% in 2022.
If you work in one of these sectors, you may take solace in the fact that you have legal protections. Every employer must protect employees and ensure their safety and well-being. Workers in high-risk occupations get extra protection. In this article, we will highlight the key legal considerations for workers in high-risk jobs. From workplace safety to workers’ compensation, employee liability, and potential legal remedies, we will cover all the factors you need to know.
Understand Occupational Safety And Health Administration (Osha) Regulations
OSHA regulations apply to every worker in the US, but they go the extra mile for people in high-risk jobs. These regulations set standards for workplace safety and health. Employers need to comply with them to ensure a safe working environment.
If you think that your employer is not doing enough in this context, you can report unsafe conditions to OSHA. You don’t need to worry about retaliation because employers cannot discriminate against employees for raising safety concerns.
Always Use Personal Protective Equipment
People working in risky jobs rely on PPE for safety. For example, firefighters require masks, helmets, and hazmat suits. People working in nuclear or chemical factories need similar equipment. Construction workers also have specific PPE requirements.
Ensure that your employer provides appropriate personal protective equipment. They should also perform regular checks to ensure that PPEs are in top shape. Timely replacement is essential, and you can demand it.
Stay On Top Of Workers’Compensation Law
The likelihood of accidents and injuries is high in risky occupations. Fortunately, workers’ compensation laws are your saviors as they come to your rescue if the worst happens. They cover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and rehab costs of injuries resulting from workplace mishaps.
According to The Bollinger Law Firm, these laws may vary for different jurisdictions. However, it aims to compensate injured employees to the maximum extent. Being aware of your rights can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Also, you should hire a seasoned lawyer to ensure that you don’t have to settle for less.
Seek Training And Education
Most workplace accidents are preventable because they occur due to human oversight. Lack of training and education is perhaps the most common factor for human error. The law binds employers to provide training and knowledge to employees in high-risk jobs.
For example, they should be made aware of potential hazards, proper use of equipment, and emergency procedures and protocols. If your employer fails to provide initial and refresher training sessions, raise a red flag. It means they are cutting corners with employee safety.
Establish Liability And Negligence
Not all workplace accidents happen due to employee error. In fact, most of them are caused by employer negligence. Maybe, they fell short of providing training or did not have proper safety mechanisms in place. In such situations, workers can establish their liability and negligence through a lawsuit.
A safe workplace is your legal right. Do not hesitate to make a noise when your employer breaches safety regulations. They should be held responsible for the accident and resultant injuries sustained by workers.
Look For Whistleblower Protections
Whistleblower laws are meant for employees who speak up about unsafe conditions or practices in their workplace. Under these laws, employers cannot take action against employees who open up about the violations of regulations. They hold for people in high-risk roles as well.
Whistleblowers can seek justice in court if they face retaliation for raising concerns about unsafe conditions. All you have to do is seek expert consultation from a lawyer. By speaking up, you can save lives and make a positive difference that inspires others in the same organization.
The Bottom Line
Workers in high-risk jobs deserve the best legal rights and protections because of the nature of their work. These legal safeguards ensure their safety and well-being in the long run. However, workers are often unaware of these rights that can help them navigate the complexities of high-risk occupations.
They also hardly know anything about holding employers responsible for fostering a secure work environment. This comprehensive article offers all the information you need to claim your rights if anything goes wrong at work.