When employees see dangerous issues around their worksite, they will usually bring it to the attention of their boss. If dangers are not mitigated though, they can then file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, with the flood of new claims OSHA has received this year, their Office of Inspector General points out there are now significant delays in handling these complaints.
The OIG’s investigation centered on OSHA’s whistleblower program between Feb. 1 to May 31. During this time, the program received over 4,000 complaints, a 30% increase from 2019. In Arizona (Region 9), OSHA had its largest increase of complaints per investigator.
This, of course, resulted in processing delays. Specifically, it took 279 days to finish an investigation, and increase of nearly 700% from their normal 41 day processing timeline. More alarming is that those complaints filed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act are required to be completed within 90 days, which is currently, not occurring.
Options for help after workplace injuries
For workers already injured, these investigation delays may not matter that much as they have already been injured by those dangerous conditions. Of course, even if proper safeguards are in place, in many instances accidents can still happen. Instead of worrying about any OSHA action, the focus will be on trying to find a way to obtain much needed financial help during time away from work with recovery.
This is where having a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable. While it may feel like the workers’ compensation process should be easy, it often is not – delays, denials and more can hamper progress and cause financial hardship for someone injured in the course of their work. Having experienced counsel to help prepare the strongest possible case can provide important peace of mind.