Due to the nature of your job as a firefighter in Missouri, you will risk your life almost daily. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict standards by which your employer must protect your safety and health. The safety regulations address all known occupational hazards firefighters face and provide manners in which to mitigate them.
The OSHA division of a neighboring state recently published a report in which it listed the most frequently cited safety violations issued in that state in the 2019 fiscal year. Are you exposed to the same hazardous conditions as a firefighter, and do you know your rights to a safe work environment? How much can you learn from the citations issued when your colleagues in your neighboring state had exposure to known risks.
Most cited violations
OSHA inspectors can evaluate the working conditions and compliance with prescribed safety standards at any time, and such investigations do not necessarily follow occupational injuries. Inspectors may issue some of the following citations in anticipation for violations that could lead to injuries:
- Fire brigade: Regulations under this section deal with all aspects of the organizational structure of the facility, including frequency, type and amount of training that firefighters will receive, along with the function each member of the brigade must perform at the facility.
- Hazard communications: This section covers hazardous materials and chemicals, and the mandatory label warnings, datasheets for each chemical substance or harmful material. Furthermore, specific standards exist for related employee training.
- Respiratory protection: To address the respiratory hazards of your job, your employer must provide the correct respirator to protect you from harmful airborne fogs, dust, mists, sprays, smokes and vapors.
- Walking working surfaces: All walking surfaces must be free of slip and trip hazards that could cause falls and serious injuries. Walking surfaces must be dry, clean, free of loose boards, sharp objects or other hazards.
- Bloodborne pathogens: Your job will expose you to bloodborne pathogens, including blood, bodily fluids, needlesticks, or other sharp injuries from materials or objects you may encounter while performing your duties.
How will you cope with the financial consequences of workplace injuries?
These are but some of the known hazards firefighters face, meaning that mitigating measures exist. Fortunately, you can find comfort in knowing that the Missouri workers' compensation system will cover your medical expenses and lost wages in the event of a work-related injury. The benefits claims process could be daunting, but you need not deal with it without help. An experienced workers' comp attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance along every step of the way.