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OSHA is valuable partner after workplace accidents

Illinois workers have the right to reasonably safe working conditions. Even seemingly dangerous occupations can be made safer through the proper administration and maintenance of safety equipment and policies. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- OSHA -- plays an important role in preventing workplace accidents, and can be an invaluable resource when they occur.

OSHA is a nationwide agency that sets and enforces standards to protect workers. Work-related deaths have dropped by an astounding 62 percent since its 1971 creation. On-the-job injuries decreased by 42 percent thanks to safety standards. Illinois is one of 22 states that also has its own OSHA program, which implements safety standards for state workers.

Inspections are one way that OSHA ensures that its standards are met. These inspections can occur because of imminent danger reports, which indicate that a workplace might be critically unsafe for workers. Accidents that caused harm to employees also indicate that an inspection is needed. Inspections might also be required under a myriad of other reasons, and employers found with violations must usually undergo a follow-up to make sure that improvements are underway.

OSHA is also responsible for fining companies that violate Illinois state and federal standards. These fines send a message to employers that their actions are unacceptable, and can help create safer work environments for everyone. However, inspection results can also directly help victims of workplace accidents. Even in the absence of OSHA citations, those injured while on the job typically have the right to receive workers' compensation benefits, regardless of whether the accident was caused by the negligence of the employer, the worker, a co-worker or someone else. 

Source: FindLaw, "OSHA Questions and Answers", Accessed on Oct. 1, 2017

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