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How is workplace safety enforced and injuries addressed?

Employees in West Virginia are aware that dangers are present in some occupations. Those working in these positions often undergo additional training and are provided safety equipment in order to reduce the risks associated with these dangerous occupational fields. While it is important that employers implement workplace safety procedures, these jobs are also regulated by federal agencies. Employees and employers should be aware of the requirements enforced by these agencies and the responsibilities of everyone involved. This could help an injured worker address any issues or claims they have following the workplace accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates private employers. With the exception of miners, this agency controls and monitors the health and safety regulations for nearly all the employees and employers in the nation. Those employers who fall under the Occupational Safety and Health Act are required to provide a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards. If there is an incident or claims against the employer for violations, this agency would be in charge of the investigation.

With regard to miners, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has the responsibility of administering and enforcing the acts that protect the health and safety of miners. They are also responsible of investigating any claims, violations and accidents that occur in a mine.

Investigating a workplace accident is important for not only the injured employee but for other employees in the workplace. The process not only determines the cause of the incident but also focuses on improving and increasing safety in the work environment. Furthermore, it helps the injured worker with filing their worker's compensation claim. This benefit could help the injured worker cover medical expenses, rehabilitation and lost wages caused by the incident.

The enforcement of workplace safety is important for those working in the industry and for the general public so productivity is consistent in these industries. Those affected by a workplace accident should understand how these agencies could help them file a claim for compensation.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Workplace Safety & Health," accessed on Sept. 16, 2014

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