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Report Faults OSHA, Highlights Employee Injuries and Workers' Comp

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By David Goguen on April 02, 2009 1:55 PM

A Labor Department report released this week accuses a federal OSHA program of failing to improve employee safety in particularly dangerous industries, and neglecting to properly monitor workplaces with histories of safety problems, including fatalities.

The report from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General spotlights employees' rights to a workplace that is reasonably free of safety and health hazards, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) responsibility to ensure the safety and health of America's workers, by setting and enforcing workplace safety standards. Learn more about Workplace Health and Safety.

In more employee safety news this week, the New York Times is continuing its article series "A World of Hurt", which focuses on problems in New York state's workers' compensation. The Times series has found that "despite an ongoing reform effort, New York State's workers' compensation system serves no one well and is arguably the most adversarial of any state in the nation." The article series spotlights the plight of injured workers trying to navigate a system fraught with delays, biased "independent" medical examinations, and retaliation by employers after a workers' comp claim is filed.

The workers' compensation systems in most states provide employees with an exclusive remedy for on-the-job injuries, but injured workers need to follow a strict claims filing procedure in order to receive benefits. And many employers carry some form of workers' compensation insurance to cover injured workers. So, a workers' compensation claim is more like an insurance claim than a lawsuit against an employer. Learn more about Workers' Compensation and the Law.