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State agency offers proactive safety check to Oklahoma employers

Oklahoma workers may not have realized that the Oklahoma Department of Labor oversees a workplace safety program referred to by its short title, Safety Pays. 

Specifically, the Safety Pays Occupational Safety and Health Administration Consultation Division offers a free workplace visit to employers in the state who may be concerned about their compliance with applicable OSHA regulations. The program is partially funded by a federal grant. 

Readers may wonder what the incentive for employers might be to invite state officials into their workplaces. The answer: liability protection. In fact, the program website actually guarantees that participating employers will lower their workers' compensation costs. Since Oklahoma law requires that employers provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for employees who become injured at work, the safety consultation service could help a company's bottom line.

However, not every employer may take such a proactive approach to workplace safety. If an on-the-job injury occurs, a worker could benefit from a consultation with an attorney that focuses on workplace injuries and workers' compensation claims.

Although the insurance coverage does not require a showing of fault, it may impose time limits for filing a workers' compensation claim. In addition, the policy may require specific notification procedures. An attorney can help an injured worker abide by these requirements, such as notifying supervisors and union representatives of the workplace injury.

An attorney can also help a worker file an accident report, request appropriate medical treatment that may be needed, and file a Form 3 with the Workers' Compensation Court. Under Oklahoma law, workers' compensation rights might not be enforceable unless a Form 3 is filed within the prescribed time limit. 

Source: Oklahoma Department of Labor, "Safety Pays OSHA Consultation Division" 

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