When workplaces lack appropriate worker safety protections, serious and sometimes life-changing (or even fatal) accidents are too often the result. Sometimes, you, as an injured worker, may be entitled to restorative relief through an industrial accident lawsuit. These cases can be highly complex, making representation from a knowledgeable Oregon industrial accident lawyer especially valuable.
One factor that can help workers to receive safer workplaces is the threat of OSHA fines from the state. The fines the State of Oregon hands out to employers operating unsafe workplaces have historically been among the lowest in the country, even when the safety violations were obvious and substantial. For example, one construction worker in West Linn died in an accident caused by a heavy-duty loader with no working brakes or horn. Despite finding that the safety violations carried a “high probability of death and that ‘with reasonable diligence, (the) employer could have known that the loader’s brakes and horn were not operating properly’,” Oregon OSHA fined the excavation company only $5,400.
Those fines will be increasing going forward. Earlier this month, the Oregon legislature passed a bill that forces Oregon OSHA to lift its minimum fine amounts to mirror the minimum fines federal OSHA requires. According to The Oregonian, that means raising minimum fines by more than 1,000% in some circumstances.