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OSHA violations and workers' compensation in Illinois

Previous posts here have noted that when employees in Illinois are injured or become ill due to on-the-job factors, it is possible to qualify for workers' compensation. However, in some cases, the on-the-job injury occurs because the employer has violated state or federal regulations. In those instances, not only would employees probably qualify for workers' compensation, the employer may also face significant financial penalties.

The federal government runs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This agency is responsible for investigating workplaces for potential violations and assessing financial penalties whenever a violation is found. When a worker suffers an on-the-job injury that results in an award of workers' compensation, that may also trigger an OSHA investigation.

So, what happens when an OSHA violation is found? Well, that depends on the level of the violation. For instance, during an investigation, an OSHA inspector might find very minor violations. When this occurs, the investigator will make note of the violations and inform the employer so that the violations can be corrected and no financial penalties will be assessed.

However, from there, the penalties only get more serious. And, in some cases, there may even be willful or repeated violations of OSHA regulations. The more serious and frequent the OSHA violations, the more significant the fine for the employer will be. The most serious types of OSHA violations can result in mandatory fines of a minimum of $500,000, which can obviously have a huge impact on an employer's bottom line. That is why employers should do their best to avoid OSHA violations, but employees may want to be aware of these violations as well.

Source: work.chron.com, "Types of OSHA Violations," Accessed April 30, 2017

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