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OSHA pushes employers to ban text messaging in effort to prevent Georgia work accidents

The federal government is calling on employers to reduce the risk of Georgia work accidents caused by distracted driving. Specifically, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration is urging employers to ban text messaging by drivers on the job.

Our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers know too well that car accidents and other transportation accidents are a leading cause of job-related injuries in Georgia.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that transportation accidents were responsible for 1,682 of the 4,340 fatal work accidents nationwide last year. Transportation accidents accounted for just about half of all fatal Georgia work accidents — 47 of 96.

“Year after year, the leading cause of worker fatalities is motor vehicle crashes,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “There’s no question that new communications technologies are helping businesses work smarter and faster. But getting work done faster does not justify the dramatically increased risk of injury and death that comes with texting while driving.”

The new safety campaign is aimed at those who drive the cars, trucks and vans that deliver the nation’s goods and services. The government is requesting that companies examine practices and policies. Employers are also being reminded they have a legal obligation to prohibit workplace hazards like texting and driving.

“OSHA’s message to all companies whose employees drive on the job is straightforward: It is your responsibility and legal obligation to have a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against texting while driving,” said Michaels. “Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their jobs. OSHA will investigate worker complaints, and employers who violate the law will be subject to citations and penalties.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that more than 5,400 motorists were killed in accidents blamed on distracted drivers last year. The government has increasingly pushed for a ban on text messaging by drivers — so far 30 states have complied.

Georgia is one of the states that has outlawed text messaging by all drivers.

As part of its outreach, OSHA launched a new distracted driving website for Georgia workers.

The Atlanta work accident lawyers at the Law Offices of J. Franklin Burns, P.C., have the knowledge and experience to help clients obtain all of the benefits to which they are entitled under the Georgia workers’ compensation program. For a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights, call 678-298-0323.