The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act is intended to provide compensation to individuals who are injured at work. Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to help workers return to work, and in the case of a death, to provide compensation to workers’ dependents to ease the burden of financial loss. Workplace accidents occur every day, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks workplace injuries and seeks to improve working conditions for all workers in the United States in order to reduce workplace injuries. OSHA also investigates workplace accidents to figure out what went wrong. Recently, however, it removed a number of safety standards that may have improved working conditions for some workers.
Government Ends Certain Workplace Safety Standards
According to one news source, the government recently decided to end 16 workplace safety regulations that were in the process of being created. They were 16 OSHA standards that were either in pre-rule, proposed rule, or final rule stages, and that were recently eliminated, according to a government report that was recently released.
Combustible Dust Rule Created After 2008 Georgia Explosion
One rule of note that was removed was the combustible dust rule. The combustible dust rule was created to prevent combustible dust explosions after a 2008 sugar dust explosion in Georgia. The explosion occurred at a sugar processing plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia. In all, 14 workers were killed in the explosion, and 38 others were seriously injured. A U.S. Chemical Safety Hazard Investigation Board found the explosion occurred due to the large accumulation of combustible sugar dust in the facility. After the explosion, the U.S. Congress passed a bill requiring OSHA to develop a combustible dust standard, but it never took effect because the Senate never moved forward with the bill.
Another rule that was withdrawn was the noise in construction standard. The standard would have created a hearing conservation standard to reduce the hearing loss many construction workers face after being exposed to noisy equipment for a long period of time. Other standards that were withdrawn were emergency response and preparedness, infectious disease and tree care, and prevention of workplace violence in health care and social assistance.
The government has stated that it was withdrawing rules due to “resource constraints and other priorities.” In addition, since the government has stated a policy of removing two rules for every one added, one commentator noted that it seems “unlikely OSHA will be adding any significant new protections for workers if two protections have to be removed in the process.”
Have You Been Injured in a Work Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Georgia workplace accident, you may be entitled to benefits under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act. The Georgia law office of J. Franklin Burns, P.C. has decades of experience in workers’ compensation claims. Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys are former insurance defense attorneys, which means that we understand the other side’s tactics. We have a track record of positive case outcomes resulting in millions of dollars in compensation. Contact us at 404-303-7770 or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.