Work Injuries Caused by Unsafe Equipment
Unfortunately, injuries caused by unsafe workplaces happen more often than many think. Employers cannot fire you if you refuse to operate defective equipment or drive vehicles that are clearly unsafe. Moreover, if your employer says, “It has been fine for years the way it is,” it is no excuse. Unsafe is unsafe. After all, it is your record and your life at stake, not your employer’s.
If you are driving an unsafe truck because your employer says you have to or you will get fired, and you get injured in an accident because of the defective vehicle, it is on your record and will potentially affect your ability to drive and work in the future. Points will be applied to your license, your insurance will go up, you may be financially responsible for the other party’s damages, and you will have to live with the result. When your boss asks you to do something that is dangerous to the point of being illegal, you should take the same approach and try to reason with your boss, do not let yourself be bullied, carefully challenge your boss, then take steps to protect yourself, according to Business Insider.
What to do if Your Employer Demands that You Use Dangerous Equipment
If you find yourself in a situation in which your employer is directing you to use unsafe equipment, consider the following options that your employer is legally bound to act on or accept:
- Tell your employer about the issue and ask them to fix the problem. If they refuse to fix it, you should make a document of the entire encounter. Even writing on a simple piece of paper the date of when you notified your employer, what the problem with the equipment was, and taking pictures of the equipment with your phone will suffice. You should be specific in your notes about what the problem is and the potential danger. If you are injured because of the dangerous equipment, this documentation will be important information to have at your disposal.
- Tell a co-worker about the situation. If you are injured, you will at least have someone who can independently verify that the equipment was unsafe and that you were directed to continue to operate it.
- Keep your notes in a journal and store them in your car or at home. Do not leave them at your employer’s work site.
Fighting Employer Retaliation
Under the regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), your employer is obligated to provide a clean, safe workplace. They are also obligated to provide personal protective equipment and are barred from retaliating against an employee who brings up a safety concern or reports an injury.
Our Houston Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Attorneys are Here to Help
If you were pressured into doing something dangerous by your employer and got hurt in the process, you need to speak with an attorney. Contact the Houston law offices of Michael P. Fleming & Associates today for help 713-221-6800.