Under Massachusetts law, employees who suffer work-related injuries may be entitled to benefits and medical costs. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides reimbursement for medical costs, reduced wages due to a disability, and other coverage, such as job retraining. In addition to state law, the federal government sets forth standards to ensure the safety of employees throughout the nation. As federal agencies, the United States Department of Labor and specifically the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) protect the rights of injured workers.
In some cases, employees may be aware of an unsafe working condition or a workplace hazard. OSHA gives employees the right to file a complaint if they believe there is a serious work hazard or if their employer is not following OSHA standards. Workers need not know whether a specific OSHA standard has in fact been violated in order to file their complaint. In many cases, OSHA will inspect the workplace upon receiving a complaint. If you are injured at work, and your employer did in fact commit an OSHA violation, you may be entitled to recover damages in addition to any workers’ compensation benefits you may receive.
Recently, a Boston seafood wholesaler was cited by OSHA, and the agency issued the employer fines for violating industry and OSHA safety standards. In fact, an employee was fatally injured on the job in March 2016 after inhaling ammonia that had leaked from a burst pipe in his employer’s machine shop. OSHA inspected and found serious violations.