Workplace accidents can often be catastrophic, especially in industries that must utilize large and dangerous machinery or exposure to toxic chemicals. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that oversees workplace environments all across the country, ensuring that employees are not exposed to unnecessary hazards and that everything is essentially in working order.
Many states have certain OHSA-approved plans that regulate the workplace to ensure the environment is safe for employees. New York has an OSHA state plan called the “Public Employees Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau” which regulates and provides protection to employees of local and state governments in New York. Some states offer the same protection to private sector employees. However, New York is not one of those states. As such, the federal OSHA program regulates and oversees private sector employees in New York.
In New York City, and throughout the rest of the state, if there is any indication of an unhealthy or unsafe work environment in the public sector, New York’s version of OSHA (the PESH Bureau) may investigate the workplace to determine whether or not public employees are at risk for suffering harm. For example, if a public worker suffered an injury that he or she believes is because of the workplace being unsafe (i.e., malfunctioning machinery or a gas leak, for example), then the PESH Bureau of New York may investigate the situation. Additionally, a public worker may also file a complaint with the PESH Bureau if he or she has concerns about an unsafe work environment.
Some employees who have been injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits depending on the type of employer-employee relationship that exists. Regardless of whether or not a workplace injury will involve an OSHA or PESH Bureau investigation (depending on whether or not the workplace is in the private or public sector), workers’ compensation may be available to help an injured employee seek the medical care he or she needs to recover from the injuries.
Workers’ compensation benefits are also intended to help an injured employee while he or she is unable to work, providing a certain amount of income until the employee can return to work. If an employee suffers injuries that prevent him or her from working again, disability benefits may be available. Because a workplace accident can involve numerous variables and multiple investigations depending on what agencies may be involved, seeking the advice of a legal professional about your situation is a good first step.
If you have suffered injuries while on the job, it is important that you consider speaking with a Long Island personal injury or an employment law attorney right away. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits depending upon the nature of your employment, and you may also have a valid legal claim. To learn more about what options are available to you, contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today by calling 516-358-6900 to schedule your free consultation.