Texas Attorney for Injuries Caused by a Violation of 29 U.S.C. § 654(a)(1) (OSHA Section 5)
Many workers who continue to work during the coronavirus pandemic are finding themselves in worse and worse work environments. Essential workers – such as delivery drivers, hospital workers, and meatpacking workers – are continuing to work in potentially unsafe environments. OSHA regulations require employers to give workers proper safety gear and safe places to work in, and failing to do so could make them liable for cases of coronavirus or other injuries acquired at work.
If you or a loved one was injured at work, call our Texas attorneys for injuries caused by a violation of 29 U.S.C. § 654(a)(1) (OSHA section 5). The Queenan Law Firm’s OSHA violation and workplace injury attorneys represent injured workers and victims of COVID-19 in lawsuits against their employers. We also represent families of workers who have died from coronavirus and other safety issues at work. For a free legal consultation and more information about how to file your claim, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.
OSHA General Duty Safety Violations in Texas During COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is part of the United States Department of Labor, and it is responsible for providing rules and regulations to keep workers safe across the country. One of the core regulations in the OSHA Act of 1970 is 29 U.S.C. § 654(a)(1). This rule creates a general duty that requires employers to give their employees a safe place to work and to keep the area free of known hazards.
In the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we might not have known much about the virus. However, we now know that it can be spread from person to person contact, we know that it can remain on surfaces, and we know that many companies and businesses across the country are not safe for workers during this pandemic.
If your employer failed to provide you with personal protective equipment and kept you working in close conditions with other employees where coronavirus could easily spread, your employer likely breached their general duty under § 654(a)(1). Additionally, an employer who used the chaos of the coronavirus as an excuse to let work safety conditions slip could also be held responsible for violating this duty, as could employers who allowed conditions at work to become unsafe because of understaffing.
Coronavirus-Related OSHA Violations Under § 654(a)(1)/Section 5 in Texas
As mentioned, many workers who are becoming sick and perhaps even dying from coronavirus are doing so because of exposure at work. Workers without proper masks and other safety equipment provided by their employer should not be forced to come to work. It is the employer’s duty under the OSHA Act to supply this equipment, and employers who fail to do so or actively advise employees not to wear masks or gloves should be held responsible for employees who get COVID-19.
Moreover, many other safety conditions are left to cause injuries during the COVID-19 outbreak. The general duty that employers must follow under section 5 of the OSHA Act requires a safe environment, in general. That means providing safe flooring, walkways, lighting, equipment, and safety gear that helps employees stay safe regardless of what their job tasks are. Workers whose safety conditions have backslid during the coronavirus pandemic could be at risk for slip and fall injuries, carrying and lifting injuries, falls from heights, and other injuries caused by generally unsafe work conditions.
Additionally, as the coronavirus makes people sick or requires furloughs or unemployment for workers, the number of workers at many job sites is decreasing. Even in essential jobs like meatpacking, employee illness has reduced the number of active workers. In some industries, having too few workers reduces safety on the job. This could be true in cases where teams work to lift heavy objects or where multiple sets of eyes are required to ensure safe processes and supervision. If you were injured because your job was understaffed, this could also violate OSHA regulations.
Suing for Violations of OSHA Section 5’s General Duties in Texas During the Coronavirus Pandemic
If you were injured at work in Texas because your employer violated OSHA’s general duty of safety, you might be entitled to sue for your injuries. Texas law allows employees to opt out of workers’ compensation, which helps workers preserve their right to file a lawsuit for negligence at work. If the employer’s negligence is what caused the employee’s injuries, the employee might be entitled to financial compensation.
Since 29 U.S.C. § 654(a)(1) (OSHA section 5) is the law across the country and across the State of Texas, employers have a legal obligation to follow this duty. If they fail to do so, a breach of that duty could injure their workers or leave workers vulnerable to diseases like COVID-19. This kind of violation satisfies half of the elements necessary to bring a negligence lawsuit against an employer for workplace injuries.
In addition to proving the duty and the breach of duty, you will also need to prove that the breach of duty caused you injuries the court can compensate. If you can link your coronavirus case or your loved one’s coronavirus case to conditions at work, you should be entitled to compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or wrongful death damages related to the exposure. Talk to an attorney about what your case might be worth.
Call Our Coronavirus Lawyers for Texas OSHA Violations of § 654(a)(1)
If you or a loved one got sick from COVID-19 because their employer breached OSHA regulations, contact The Queenan Law Firm immediately. Our attorneys represent victims of coronavirus and other workplace injuries caused by unsafe conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic or understaffing issues caused by closures, furloughs, or illness. For help with your potential case, call our Texas attorneys for injuries caused by a violation of 29 U.S.C. § 654(a)(1) (OSHA section 5) today. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.