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Maryland compliance unit takes action to promote workplace safety

Maryland workers are fortunate to have a powerful advocate for workplace safety that is always on the prowl for employers who fail to observe safety protocols. The Compliance Unit of the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health department is the group tasked with the enforcement aspect of ensuring that employers provide safe and healthful workplaces for their Maryland employees.

The Compliance Unit maintains a staff of trained safety inspectors and industrial hygienists who perform unannounced safety inspections at job sites and other workplaces throughout Maryland. The CU sniffs out noncompliant workplaces and has the authority to enter any establishment during reasonable hours.

If the CU discovers safety discrepancies, they issue citations of those violations and recommend a timetable for their correction. In more serious cases, the CU has the authority to issue fines or refer cases to the Maryland Attorney General's office for criminal prosecution.

Although the CU can choose which workplace to inspect on its own, the unit also responds to non-formal complaints and referrals from other outside sources. Presumably, this also includes employees who may feel that their employer is not adequately observing safety procedures.

The CU also takes action against industrial activities that have been targeted as high hazard industries. A good example of this is an October 2014 initiative to tighten safety compliance related to electrical hazards at construction sites throughout the state. Compliance personnel have been directed to look into hazards associated with heavy equipment and crane operations, aerial lifts, the use of scaffolding and other electrocution hazards associated with construction.

If you are a Maryland worker who has been injured as a result of lax workplace safety, you may be entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also be able to receive medical benefits and vocational rehabilitation designed to get you back into the workforce.

Source: Maryland Division of Labor and Industry, "MOSH Instruction 15-1 - Local Emphasis Program (LEP) Electrical Hazards in Construction" Dec. 25, 2014

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