Safety is one of the most important things in the workplace. One should provide employees with safety equipment to ensure that they are safe on the job. However, it is not always enough to provide safety equipment and hope for the best.
Employers need to make sure that their employees know how to use all of their PPE correctly to avoid accidents or injuries at work.
This guide will explore what rights workers have when it comes to PPE and if you can sue your employer for not providing them with proper protection against injury or illness while working.
So whenever you’re ready to learn about the potential legal action you can take against responsible employers, keep reading.
What Is PPE?
PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. This means anything you wear or use to protect yourself from illness, injury, and other dangers during your workday. There are several different types of PPE. Some examples include: gloves, goggles, hard hats, earplugs/muffs (for loud noises), safety shoes/boots (to avoid slips & falls)
One should provide every employee with protection against the hazards they may face at their workplace each day. However, there are exceptions when employees do not need one particular type of PPE. This depends on what they’re doing in the course of their job duties.
For example, construction workers often only require basic protective equipment like eye protection. This is because most construction sites have protective barriers between the workers and hazards.
One should provide each employee with a list of PPE to make sure they know what is available to request it if necessary.
Employees do not always have all of these items at their disposal. Thus, employers need to help them get ready for work each day by providing this equipment on site. If you feel like your employer has violated OSHA’s rules, then talk to an attorney who specializes in employment law today!
If courts find that employees got hurt because the employer failed to provide PPE, then there may be a liability. This liability is under state laws such as common-law negligence. However, specific case details would need to go through an assessment.
Where Is PPE Required by Law?
OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They keep records of which laws require employers to provide PPE for employees. There are many different areas where one may need this safety equipment:
- Construction sites – hard hats, eye protection, gloves, boots
- Manufacturing plants – masks or goggles to protect against dust/fumes
- Outdoor workers in all industries including construction, manufacturing
The list goes on! OSHA’s website provides a handy PDF guide with more information about what types of PPE are required by law, depending on your industry.
It can also help you determine if violations have occurred at your workplace and how best to follow up with your employer about any safety violations.
Can I Sue My Employer for Not Providing PPE?
The short answer is yes. If you can prove that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) your employer provided was not enough to protect you from injury or illness, then there may be liability under state laws such as common-law negligence — though specific details of the case would need to be looked at.
For example, if an employee is using a tool that could cause harm and they are not given gloves, this could create the potential for bodily injury. For instance, skin being punctured by shards of metal while handling it. How about cuts on hands from holding sharp tools without protection; etc
OSHA has different types of PPE depending on what hazards employees face. Make sure your employer knows how best to provide the protection you need.
Furthermore, if you feel like your employer has violated OSHA’s safety requirements, then talk to an attorney who specializes in employment law today.
The success of your case is going to be tightly connected to the quality of your representative. Therefore, you want to ensure that your legal representation is qualified and experienced in these matters.
Which Law Is Applicable to These Matters?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C., Section 620) is the law that applies to this matter. Still, many state laws may also protect employees – depending on where you live and what industry you work in.
For example, California Labor Code 225 defines employer responsibilities for providing PPE. Whereas, Maryland’s worker safety act does not require employers to provide any PPE at all!
So make sure your employer knows how best to provide the protection you need if you’re in a different state or working in a different industry than just construction sites.
How Long Does a Lawsuit Last In These Cases?
It will depend on the circumstances of your case, but lawsuits typically take a year or more to conclude.
In California and many other states:
The statute of limitations is one year from the date of injury in these.
In some cases, it can be longer if there are extenuating circumstances. For instance, when an employer ignores their responsibilities for providing PPE in violation of state law.
What Type of Compensation Can Be Achieved?
It will depend on the circumstances of your case, but in general, employees can be awarded damages for their injury. This compensation will also vary depending on some factors: are you an employee or a contractor; was this work-related injury intentional or accidental; how severe were the injuries incurred, and who else might have been harmed (e.g., other workers, bystanders, etc.).
Additionally, there may be punitive damages, which could come into play if your employer deliberately violated safety regulations with no regard for worker safety – such as not providing PPE required by law(s).
In those cases where death results from workplace negligence, victims’ families may receive financial support through wrongful death lawsuits.
You should consult an attorney about the appropriateness of a wrongful death suit in your case.
What Is the Process for Suing Your Employer?
If you’re ready to sue your employer for not providing PPE, then make sure the following is done.
Talk with an employment lawyer who specializes in these matters and ask about their experience – so that they know how best to represent you. You can find a qualified attorney by contacting organizations like NELA. That’s the National Employment Lawyers Association.
Decide whether or not it’s appropriate for you to file a lawsuit if OSHA hasn’t already issued any fines. This will depend on the specifics of your case, such as the severity of injury or classification of work. It also depends on whether injuries are caused by intentional harm rather than negligence, etc.
If there have been no violations found by OSHA yet, this depends on what happened during the course of the work injury. For example, if OSHA investigates and they find that your employer did not provide PPE. Still, it was intentional; then, you may have more options than just suing.
Find a lawyer who has experience in these matters to discuss whether or not filing a lawsuit is right for you. This is done after considering all aspects of this matter, including the statute of limitations (how long before you must file suit).
Additionally, many states require employees to take their complaints to an administrative agency first rather than going straight into litigation. Contacting state agencies such as OSHA can help too: “OSHA will investigate incidents at the request of law enforcement officers from any jurisdiction.”
Consult with your lawyer on this next step and find out if you’re eligible for state or federal compensation in the event of an injury – those options may be better than filing a lawsuit. Contacting organizations like OSHA can help too: “OSHA will investigate incidents at the request of law enforcement officers from any jurisdiction.”
Legal Help for You
In conclusion, if you’re injured on the job, and your employer didn’t prove ide PPE required by law(s), then lawsuits are an option for claiming compensation.
If this is a matter that’s affecting you, contact an employment lawyer at Heidari Law Group today to get specific advice about the best course of action in your situation – such as whether or not it makes sense to file suit against your employer before OSHA has found any violations.
Get in touch with our team now to get your issue sorted out as soon as possible.