Workers Are in Danger Like Never Before: Virus Workplace Safety Concerns, Deaths, & Litigation
A number of actions taken by the current administration have unfortunately made it a necessity to consult with a workplace injury attorney if you are hurt on the job in order to ensure that you are taken care of. According to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, in 2018, more than 5,500 workers died from workplace trauma; a nine percent increase since 2014, all while the number of inspections conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fell by more than 10 percent during that same period. Fatality rates have also increased, especially for minorities, by as much as 30 percent, and OSHA currently has fewer than 900 inspectors covering more than nine million workplaces.
Sadly, enforcement of all labor standards have plummeted under the current administration, placing many workers at risk of sustaining serious injuries and illnesses. Adding in the risks posed by COVID-19, it is fair to say that workers have never faced a greater risk of danger and injury in the workplace, especially with OSHA doing nothing more than issuing voluntary guidance for employers as opposed to emergency standards.
Workers Most at Risk
This is especially serious in particular workplaces such as hospitals, meatpacking plants, and slaughterhouses, where workers are facing serious health risks related to COVID-19, and where a number of virus-related deaths still have not been penalized by the federal agency. Without paid sick leave available, coworkers and managers are coming into work when they are sick and should stay at home for the sake of everyone’s safety. Meanwhile, others reportedly face retaliation for refusing to work in unsafe conditions or having to stay home to care for themselves or sick loved ones.
Complaints & Litigation Filed
As a result, a number of workers and their loved ones have had to take matters in their own hands, either by working with attorneys to file thousands of complaints concerning their exposure to the virus and a lack of safeguards where they work, or by litigating wrongful death claims after workers fall sick and die due to employers’ negligence surrounding virus precautions. In fact a number of facilities, including Walmart, have been hit with lawsuits in connection with employees dying of COVID-19 complications. One such lawsuit filed against Walmart alleges that the retailer failed to take basic steps to prevent injury and illness in the workplace, including providing gloves and masks to employees, as well as disinfecting the store and informing workers about the risks they faced.
If You Have Workplace Injury and/or Wrongful Death Concerns Here in Texas, Contact Our Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job or has concerns about your employer failing to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you are not at serious risk of injury or illness on the job here in Texas, contact Houston workplace injury attorney Sue E. West at the West Law Office today to find out how we can help.