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Federal shutdown may result in more worker injuries

The federal government shutdown may have more implications than first realized. For example, the federal government shutdown may be affecting the status of inspections regarding workplace accident cases that occur in New Jersey and other locations. This lack of oversight may be detrimental to workers as employers may subject the employees to dangerous conditions without concerns of being punished.

The current federal shutdown has resulted in about half of the staff at federal safety agencies being furloughed. Additionally, the operations that workers depend on to keep them safe have also halted. The former New Jersey Governor has been a leading proponent in improving the safety in chemical plants for several years. She recounted a delayed investigation into a big explosion that claimed the lives of 15 people. She also declared that about half of the Mine Safety and Health Administration employees are currently out of work. Additionally, 90 percent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration employees are out of work.

The director of regulatory policy at the Center for Effective Government says that federal safety inspectors and investigators play a pivotal role. They protect employees at mines, factories, construction sites and food processing facilities and help prevent fatal accidents from occurring at these potentially dangerous locations. The longer that these work sites remain without being inspected, the more likely it is that an accident will occur. Many safety efforts are not realized until something goes terribly wrong. For example, there was a multi-state outbreak of salmonella in chicken. This caused several workers from the Centers for Disease Control to be recalled to work. It is not known when the federal government shutdown will come to an end.

New Jersey workplace accident lawyers may be able to help individuals who are injured at work. They may be able to file a claim for compensation on behalf of the injured employee.

Source: Public News Service, "Government Shutdown: Undermining Workplace Safety?", October 14, 2013

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