Morizio Law Firm, P.C.

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OSHA has fewer workers during Trump era

Connecticut workers may have fewer opportunities to report safety violations than they did when President Trump took office. According to a Freedom of Information Act request, OSHA has lost 40 employees during Trump's first term. This is part of an overall trend that saw 16,000 fewer federal government workers in September 2017 compared to the end of 2016. Every cabinet agency except the Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Interior departments have lost workers since Trump took office.

The reductions to OSHA's staff represents a 4 percent decline to just under 1,000 workers in October 2017. However, the Labor Department has said that OSHA has hired more workers and is looking to recruit dozens more. The agency's main role is to make sure that employees have safe working conditions and that employers abide by safety regulations. Inspectors look for safety violations or other issues that could put a worker in harm's way.

In Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Labor's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA) enforces state occupational safety and health regulations as they apply to state and municipal employees.  There are provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act in Connecticut which protect injured workers in the event that an employer is cited for an OSHA violation and futhermore does not fix the violation within the requisite time period.  An employee may be entitled to full wages under the Act in these circumstances.  OSHA Violation: Compensation for Connecticut Employees

People who are injured on the job generally have the right to file a claim for workers compensation benefits. These benefits can include the payment or reimbursement of medical bills and, in some cases, the replacement of a portion of wages lost during the recovery period. This is the case regardless of whose fault the accident was. In return, people who accept these benefits waive the right to bring a separate lawsuit against the employer.

However, in cases where the injury was the result of a blatant and reckless disregard of workplace safety protocols by the company, then in some cases it might be allowable to not file a claim but to instead file a lawsuit. An attorney could make some suggestions in this regard.

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