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Workplace safety standards protect federal employees

Federal employees in Texas have occupational rights allowing them to file for workers' compensation benefits when injured on the job. Federal employers are required to provide and maintain approved safety equipment to protect employees from workplace injuries. Employers should conduct inspections on a regular basis and address hazardous conditions in a timely manner, and employees should also be notified after being exposed to hazards.

If a federal worker does suffer a work injury, he or she is covered under the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation, which manages federal workers' compensation claims. Depending on the type of injury, a decision regarding the injury claim can be made within 45 days of the filing or within 10 months.

The reason for the time differences is that complex illness cases take a great deal of time to resolve while traumatic injuries are likely to be more apparent. The agency also has a large number of cases to resolve; 115,697 federal worker injury claims started in 2012. That year, $929 million was paid out for medical care and rehabilitation, and nearly $2 billion was paid out for lost wages. Some federal workers also died, leading to $140 million in death benefits for the workers' families.

Even though some claims take months to resolve, injured workers can expect benefits payments in a timely manner; medical bills are generally taken care of within 28 days, and workers could start receiving payments for their lost wages within 14 days of submitting their claims. Like many state workers' compensation systems, the insurance provider should pay for vocational training should a worker be forced to change positions or find new employment because of an injury. Other benefits may also be available, and an attorney could provide more information on these as well as the differences between state and federal workers' compensation programs.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)"

Source: osha.gov, "Occupational Safety and Health for Federal Employees", September 16, 2014

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