Industrial Law (sometimes referred to as 'industrial relations') studies workplace relations and employment law. The term "industrial law" came into use during the Industrial Revolution and has been used in the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and South African legal traditions, as well as, with changes in meanings, in the Americas and the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Industrial law relates to the law governing businesses in the industrial sector, which can include various legal topics, from employment law and worker safety regulations to environmental laws, agreements, and industrial relations. Each industry has its own set of legal concerns and policies.
Employment laws regulate the relationship between employers and workers. They cover issues like minimum wage, maximum working hours, leave, and termination.
Employment and labor laws are relevant in any commercial enterprise, and industry is no exception. Indeed, industrialization led not only to the modern conveniences of our technological age but also the rise of organized labor unions that advocate for the employees' rights in the workplace. Employment and labor issues in industrial enterprises are significant, given the often hazardous nature of the work.
Some industrial environments are considered industrial workplaces, while others are not. An industrial workplace is an area where industrial operations or processes are conducted. Common industrial accidents include forklift accidents, falling objects, slips, trips, and falls, machinery or equipment injuries, explosions or blast injuries, and chemical burns or inhalation.
Industrial accident injuries can often be more severe than other workplace injuries, given the nature of the work. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that two out of every 1,000 industrial workers will lose their life in a workplace accident. As a result, personal injury laws are a significant area of practice related to industrial laws.
All US government regulations target small businesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an organization that protects the health and safety of workers and works to reduce work-related death, injuries, and occupational illnesses. OSHA works to monitor safety conditions in the workplace, including in industrial environments. According to OSHA's data, many of the top violations resulting in citations are given to industrial workplaces.
Common problems include communication hazards, lack of respiratory protection, poor electrical design, inadequate or disabled machine guards, and improper or unlicensed use of powered industrial trucks.
When looking into employment law, it is essential to realize that this area of law also interacts with other professional fields. For example, workplace discrimination and harassment are often an issue in employment law but can also overlap with employees' and employers' rights in workplace safety. While employment law is primarily governed by the state, country, or provincial statutes, this area of law has international connections, such as the international labor movements advocating for workers' rights worldwide.
Like any business, there are endless legal questions to concern yourself with as an industry professional. They can include contracts, real estate questions, shipping and distribution, and environmental concerns.