Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | May 21, 2022 | Workplace Accidents
Employers have a duty to their employees to provide safe working environments. The requirements for safe working conditions depend on the job and the workplace. Even though some jobs and work environments may be more dangerous than others, it does not absolve employers from liability for negligence and intentional wrongdoing.
Defining Unsafe Working Conditions in New York
Unsafe working conditions create a hazardous or dangerous environment that can threaten an employee’s safety or health. The conditions could interfere with the employee performing their duties safely. A working environment that falls short of acceptable and reasonable regulatory standards could be considered unsafe working conditions.
How Do You Report Unsafe Working Conditions in New York?
There are several ways to report unsafe working conditions in New York.
First, you can discuss your concerns directly with your employer. Discussing the issue with a supervisor may correct the problem. If not, you could file a formal complaint through the human resources department. Large companies generally have a procedure for filing complaints, or you could file an anonymous complaint.
If addressing the unsafe working conditions with your employer does not resolve the issue, you might consider filing a complaint with a state or federal agency.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) accepts reports of unsafe work conditions online. You can file a confidential safety and health complaint to request an OSHA inspection of your workplace.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Reporting an Unsafe Work Environment?
Federal and state law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for reporting unsafe working conditions. In addition, they cannot discriminate against an employee for exercising their legal rights. Discrimination and retaliation could include terminating employment, creating a hostile work environment, demoting an employee, or assigning employees to less desirable duties.
Common Types of Unsafe Working Conditions
Employers who fail to provide healthy and safe work environments place employees in danger of injuries and life-threatening conditions.
The types of unsafe working conditions New York employees may encounter include:
- Slippery and wet floors
- Frayed cords, exposed wires, and faulty wiring
- Toxic chemical and hazardous fumes
- Unsanitary conditions
- Exposure to loud noises
- Defective and/or broken and faulty equipment and tools
- Inadequate lighting
- Failure to provide adequate safety equipment
- Unsecured or improperly stored materials, equipment, and supplies
Unsafe working conditions can cause a variety of accidents. Falls, being crushed between objects, being struck by objects, and electrical injuries are common causes of work-related injuries.
What Are the Consequences of Unsafe Working Conditions?
The consequences of unsafe working conditions can be deadly for employees. Work-related injuries and illnesses could be life-threatening or cause severe impairments.
Examples of injuries workers may sustain because of unsafe working conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hearing loss
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Chronic lung ailments
- Loss of sight and eye injuries
- Back injuries
Workers’ compensation covers most work-related injuries in New York. If you are injured at work or develop an illness because of your working conditions, file a report with your employer immediately. You should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even though the injury was caused by unsafe working conditions.
Unfortunately, some employers and insurance companies may deny workers’ compensation claims for injuries caused by unsafe work conditions. They may want to save money or try to cover up the unsafe conditions. If you do not receive workers’ compensation benefits, contact a New York City workers’ compensation lawyer immediately to discuss your legal rights.
Can I Sue My Employer for Unsafe Work Conditions in New York?
Typically, you cannot sue your employer in New York for a work-related injury. Workers’ compensation would be your only recourse for a covered work injury.
However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, if your employer intentionally or knowingly puts you in danger, you could have a claim against your employer. Likewise, if your employer was negligent in causing your injury, you could have a claim.
The best way to learn about your legal rights and your options to recover compensation after a work-related injury is to seek legal advice from a New York City workplace accident lawyer. In addition to a workers’ compensation claim or claim against your employer, you could have a third-party claim if another party negligently contributed to the cause of your workplace injury.