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Work injuries: 60 percent of severe violators are in construction

The safety of workers in the construction industry in California and across the country is a matter of grave concern. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration works hard at trying to limit injuries and deaths in all industries. However, a breakdown of its list of severe violators shows that 60 percent is made up of construction companies.

The Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) focuses OSHA's enforcement on those companies that have proved to be willful violators of safety and health regulations after repeated inspections, with little or no effort to abate and comply with prescribed regulations. Once an employer is included in the SVEP, the company will be subjected to random inspections at regular intervals. Enforcement action against severe violators will also be stricter.

The program was started in 2010 in an effort to encourage business owners to prioritize workers' safety. Sadly, the success may be questioned as the list is ever-growing. Twenty-one additional violators were added to the program from January through April of this year. Although the fines issued for safety violations might appear high, they may be insignificant in the overall financial picture of a company. If the company's focus is on profit rather than workers' safety, the fines may be paid, and no changes will take place to address the safety violations.

Construction workers in California who have suffered workplace injuries may apply to have medical expenses and wage losses covered by the workers' compensation insurance program. Benefits claims may be filed with the state's insurance system. It may be beneficial to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can fight for the injured worker's rights in pursuing fair compensation -- especially in some cases in which employers who appear to have no concern for workers' safety deny responsibility.

Source: forconstructionpros.com, "Nearly 60% of Employers in OSHA Severe Violator Program are from Construction Industry", May 26, 2016

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