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Standards may fail to actually prevent workplace injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an organization dedicated to the rights and safety of all workers. However, many of the standards and regulations put into place fail to actually protect the safety of many workers and prevent workplace injuries. Since its inception in 1971, OSHA has only issued 36 health standards and currently enforces outdated limits for exposure to dangerous toxins. 

Despite medical advances and more knowledge regarding the long-term impact of dangerous toxin exposure, California workers are still exposed to harmful substances, like mercury, every day. OSHA's productivity is often hindered by the presidential administrations, Congress and court decisions that determine the passage of new regulations. Unfortunately, innocent and hardworking Americans are the ones who suffer from the legal red tape and frustrating system.

Additionally, it is very difficult for OSHA to enforce certain standards. When a violation is discovered or reported, the burden of proof is often too high to actually hold employers accountable for safety violations. While OSHA has a long history of passionate supporters and well-meaning leaders, it is often up to the individual worker to act as his or her own advocate in case of a workplace injury or job-related illness. 

If dangerous workplace conditions contribute to an injury or illness, it is within the rights of the victim to seek compensation for expenses. Every California worker also has the right to seek a legal opinion regarding a workers' compensation claim. If a claim is denied, an appeal may be an appropriate measure by which an individual can seek a full recovery after sustaining workplace injuries. 

Source: slate.com, "How Politics Gutted Workplace Safety", Jim Morris, July 7, 2015

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