<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-M6FBM7" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"> </iframe>
24/7 Free Consultation (800) BAGEN LAW "Se Habla Espanol"

Bagen Law Blog

What's a hazardous condition? Who's responsible for it?

Posted by Steven A. Bagen

Dec 3, 2013 8:00:00 AM

hazardWhile you are working, the federal law protects you from hazardous conditions. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body for ensuring all workplaces are free from hazards. Even so, fatalities and serious injuries still occur in the workplace. Some of those accidents may be due to gross negligence or carelessness by the employee. However, if a condition existed that contributed to the injury, you should consult with a Gainesville personal injury lawyer to determine if your rights were being violated. Your Gainesville personal injury lawyer is willing to consult with you to review the incident to determine if you are entitled to any financial compensation for a hazardous workplace. In the mean time, the following information will give you an idea of whether you or a family member has suffered from hazardous conditions in the workplace.

Steven A. Bagen & Associates is a personal injury law firm with offices in Gainesville and Ocala, Florida.

What is a Hazardous Condition? 

Depending on your job, the definitions of a hazardous condition will vary. In any case, OSHA defines a hazardous condition as any situation or practice in a place of employment that can reasonably cause death or major physical harm. For clarity, OHSA lays out a few conditions that must be met before a work environment can be considered to be hazardous or an imminent danger:

  • The situation must present a scenario of death or serious physical harm. "Serious physical harm" implies the damage done will be so severe the body part loses partial or total functionality. 
  • To be considered a health hazard, toxic or other substances must be exposed and present. In addition, the exposure to the hazard must have life-shortening tendencies or cause you to have a significant reduction in mental or physical ability. The damage from the health hazard doesn't have to happen immediately. 
  • The hazard must be imminent or immediate, which means serious physical harm or death could result from the hazard in a very short time period or before OSHA could investigate the hazard. 
  • If the OSHA inspector determines imminent danger, he or she must let the affected workers and the employer know that he or she is recommending OSHA intervene to stop the hazard. 
  • OSHA has the power to request a federal court to order the hazard to be removed by the employer. 

If you feel your workplace is hazardous or if you've suffered an injury because of the hazard, you should contact your Gainesville personal injury lawyer for a consultation. You may be entitled for compensation for your injuries, especially if the hazard has known long term effects. 

Employer Responsibilities 

Under the OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment. The following summarizes some of the key responsibilities charged to the employer: 

  • The workplace should be free of hazards and coincide with the regulations under the OSH Act. 
  • Ensure the workplace conforms to the OSHA standards.
  • Make sure employees use and properly maintain safe equipment and tools. 
  • Warn employees of possible hazards with posters, color codes, or signs.
  • Create, maintain, and communicate procedures for safe operation and ensure employees adhere to  the health and safety requirements.
  • Provide safety training in plain language.
  • Employers with hazardous chemicals must have a written communication program and effectively train workers on the types of hazards they are being exposed to.
  • When OSHA requires medical exams and training, it must be provided. 
  • Post the OSHA poster in a visible location.
  • Report any accidents resulting in death or hospitalization to the nearest OSHA office within 8 hours of the incident.
  • All work-related illnesses and injuries must be recorded.
  • Allow representatives, employees, and former employees access to the log of work-related illnesses and injuries.
  • Make exposure records and employee medical records available to employees and their legal representatives. 
  • The OSHA compliance officer must be provided the names of legal representatives for employees who may be asked to accompany the compliance officer during an inspection. 
  • If an employee exercises their right under the OSH Act, the employee must not be discriminated against.
  • OSHA citations must be posted on or around the work site involved. Every citation is required to stay publicly posted until the infraction has been fixed or three working days, whichever time period is longer. 
  • Cited violations must be corrected and submitted to OSHA by the date set in the deadline.

Simply put, it is your American right to be able to work in a safe and hazard-free workplace. If you work around industrial plants or other types of environments dealing with hazardous chemicals, it's important you know the hazards of working with those chemicals. If you feel for any reason your rights have been violated, contact your Gainesville personal injury lawyer for legal advice. With offices in Ocala and Gainesville, the personal injury lawyers at Steven A. Bagan Law Firm will fight for your right to earn a living safely. 


Topics: Personal Injury