Pennsylvania federal employees may be surprised to learn that in 2004, expenses from workers’ compensation filings for all federally employed workers averaged in excess of $2.3 billion. Also during that year, an estimated 165,000 illnesses and workplace injuries involving federally employed civilians occurred.
In attempting to promote a healthy and safe workplace environment for employees, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has implemented a set of laws and regulations for federal agencies. For example, in the event that an occupational emergency should take place, OSHA requires the agency to have procedures in place outlining how employers and employees should react during and after the incident. Furthermore, agencies are required to train their employees in obtaining, maintaining and using OSHA-approved protective equipment. Supervisors, managers, employee representatives and health and safety personnel are also required to take part in the agency’s training.
OSHA also mandates federal agencies to hold annual inspections in the presence of several employee representatives. Employers must also display certain information at the workplace such as reports of any dangers that OSHA officials uncovered during a workplace inspection, certain official safety and health provisions under OSHA and yearly compendiums regarding illnesses, injuries and accidents that happened within a required segment of time.
OSHA’s safety and health program encourages federal employees to ensure that workers are free from discrimination, restraint, coercion, interference and the fear of retaliation for reporting a safety or health violation. Under the provisions, federal agencies must notify their employees of any hazardous conditions and immediately work to correct possible dangers.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available for any employee who incurs any work-related injuries or illnesses. Benefits include coverage for the injured or sick worker’s income losses, medical expenses, therapy treatments, traveling expenses to and from doctor’s visits and medication.