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Low Wage Workers Deserve a Safe Work Environment

Truth-Out.org, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit with a progressive focus, recently published an article taking a look at legislation across the states to undermine the rights of workers. The article discussed a so-called war on workplace rights targeted at low-wage workers. work.jpg

This article was published shortly another story in February of 2013 on EHS Today addressing the plight of low wage workers who get hurt on the job.

Unfortunately, as these and many other recent news stories show, workers are currently struggling and losing the battle to secure reasonable working conditions. In addition to attacks on minimum wage and the right to form unions, these workers also deal with the grim reality every day that their employers prioritize profits over people. Our Boston workplace injury attorneys know that this profit-focused mindset may also result in employers creating an unsafe work environment, putting workers at greater risk of the serious injuries that would cause them such financial harm.

Low Wage Workers Deserve a Safe Work Environment
Low wage workers work in many different industries, but one of the most notorious is the fast food industry. Fast food jobs are known to present many risks, including the dangers of inhaling emissions at the drive-thru window; cutting or burning yourself; or injuring your body through heavy lifting or repetitive movements. Unfortunately, workers in these jobs often have limited incomes, may not make enough to get medical help to take care of themselves, and usually don’t get paid sick leave.

The tough working conditions have, according to MSN, sent some workers into the streets to protest their low wages and to demand a living wage. The workers have expressed that they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” and believe that they should be making $15 per hour for the work performed.

While protesting wages may be the immediate focus of the workers, however, the recent EHS Report identified another big problem that these workers face: the losses that they would endure if they get hurt while they work. According to EHS, injuries and illnesses among low-wage workers cost more than $39 billion in 2010, in part because these workers have no paid sick leave and thus lose money when they stay home and miss work to recover from a work-related illness. These workers could struggle to buy groceries and pay rent due to an injury that causes even a day or two of missed work.

This should not be the case. Employers need to ensure that they are not leaving low-wage workers to work in a job that puts them at risk of being hurt. Workers should have the proper training to do their jobs successfully and the work environment should be maintained so as to avoid the risk of injury occurring.

If and when a workplace injury happens, the workers shouldn’t have to fear that they won’t be able to pay their bills but should instead understand that workers’ comp covers their costs. Many lower wage workers may be unaware of their right to make a workers’ compensation claim or may not understand the process and it is imperative that these workers are informed of their rights so a workplace injury doesn’t cripple their fragile economic state.

If you or a loved one was involved in a work accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:
OSHA Details on Winter Dangers That Affect Construction Workers, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, January 17, 2013.

OSHA Looks to Cool Down Work Injuries in Boston and Elsewhere with New Regulations Regarding Heat Outdoor Workers, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog May 11, 2013