What role does OSHA play in workers’ compensation?

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, sets workplace safety standards for millions of employers across the country.

In Pennsylvania, OSHA also directly enforces these standards in the private sector. At random and also after receiving a complaint or an accident report, OSHA may investigate northeastern Pennsylvania workplaces and issue citations for safety violations.

Workplaces which failed to meet safety standards may have to pay hefty fines and face other penalties.

While the outcome of these investigations may offer some important information and bring an unsafe employer to justice, they may not have a significant role in workers’ compensation claims after a workplace accident.

The reason is that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Pennsylvania. In other words, with very rare exceptions, if a Scranton worker gets hurt or sick while on the job, then he gets benefits without having to prove his employer’s negligence.

In other words, even if a worker was responsible for her own injuries, then she may still collect workers’ compensation benefits. Whether an employer violated workplace safety rules is not a deciding factor.

OSHA violations may play a role if a workers also sues for personal injuries

However, a Pennsylvania worker may discover that workers’ compensation benefits are simply not enough to cover all of his financial and non-economic losses.

In this case, he may want to pursue other people or businesses who are at fault for his injuries.

So long as the employer is offering workers’ compensation, a worker may not sue her employer in the vast majority of cases, even if the employer is responsible for the worker’s injuries.

However, she may pursue others who are responsible for her injuries, including other businesses that may have violated workplace safety rules.

In these cases, an OSHA citation against another business aside from a victim’s employer can serve as valuable proof that this business owes the victim additional compensation.