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How can I protect myself from unsafe working conditions?

It is not in an employer's best interests to injure or incapacitate its workers, but even still, employers cannot always be expected to look out for every possible source of injury at the workplace, especially when it comes to jobs that are inherently dangerous. This is why OSHA exists. OSHA is a federal administration that protects workers and seeks to ensure that the health and safety of employees is considered at all times.

One of the best ways to avoid unsafe working conditions is to report the conditions to OSHA, at which point measures will likely be taken to reduce or eliminate the dangers. This can significantly reduce the risk of workplace accidents and can even make work more efficient since employees would no longer have to exercise extreme care to avoid injury. Of course depending on the nature of the unsafe condition, there may not be time to report it to OSHA.

In the event that a safety hazard poses a threat so imminent that you cannot report it to your employer or to OSHA, you can legally refuse to work. This may sound surprising, but the truth is that if there is reasonable cause to believe that the hazard poses an immediate and significant threat, and your employer will not fix the issue, and if you have no alternative way of completing the functions of your job, you can simply not work. Additionally, you have the right to continue refusing to work until the danger is eliminated or found not to exist.

Your employer will likely look out for your best interests whenever possible, and there are federal guidelines designed to make workplaces safe, but the truth is that the only person who can truly understand the potential dangers of a workplace scenario is you. Fortunately, you are given enough legal leeway to make a judgement call for your own safety. If you do find yourself injured in a workplace accident, consider meeting with an attorney. You could be entitled to benefits from workers' compensation.

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Success Stories

  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
  • The estate of a 64 year old woman received a settlement of $425,000.00 after she was struck and killed by a speeding tractor trailer while crossing the street at the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Port Richmond Avenue.
  • A $1,200,000.00 settlement was reached on behalf of a 54 year old man from Staten Island, New York, who, while in the course of his employment as a bus driver, was rear-ended on the Garden State Parkway and caused to suffer injuries to his back and neck as well as a fractured rib and fractured pelvis.
  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
  • The administrator of the estate of a 69 year old man who suffered stage four pressure sores while a patient at a Queens nursing home settled the case for $400,000.00 after the man died.
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Phone: 347-201-4447
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Phone: 347-201-4447
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