Every employer has a duty to keep their employees safe. Regulations for each industry instruct how employers should address issues of employee safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put together online resources, such as handbooks and safety inspection checklists, to assist employers in making their workplaces safe for their valued employees.
Employers are encouraged to perform a hazard assessment specific to each job, including those on a factory floor, those in the customer-facing front office, and those in management, administration, marketing, and Human Resource (HR) positions.
The following components are recommended for effective safety plans:
One of the most important features of a successful safety plan for any business is cooperation. Cooperation is needed from all players to approach workplace safety effectively. Workplace safety initiatives only work if employees share and support the organization’s goals to create a safe atmosphere for all workers. The leaders of the operation are tasked with creating the plan, continually updating and adjusting to meet changing needs, and communicating the objectives clearly to the rest of the team.
An important component of an organized plan is safety equipment. This category includes wearable protective gear, safety mechanisms on machines, and other tools. Necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) items might include hard hats, safety goggles, face shields, highly protective work gloves, hearing protection, appropriate footwear, as well as respirators.
Another primary responsibility of an organization’s leadership is to provide a healthy work environment that is free of hazards. Leaders should pay attention to good lighting, mitigation of harmful noise levels, and adequate ventilation. These concerns may call for an overhaul of the current system, but the investment in creating a healthy environment can protect personnel. Protecting workers keeps productivity high and prevents company losses.
In addition to creating a safe physical environment for the overall workspace, individual work stations should be adapted to provide unique personal comforts to protect employees from the threat of strain injuries. Ergonomic devices can protect against injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome. A high quality chair or standing desk may prevent possible back issues as well.
Employers should provide time and encouragement employees. It is recommended that people move around every 20 minutes and look away from computer screens for 20 seconds several times a day.
Another way employees can provide space for workers to prioritize their well-being is to ensure access to watering stations to keep employees hydrated. This is especially important in outdoor settings, such as construction sites. However, this is a simple illustration of how employers should consider basic health concerns, and provide access and time for employees. This idea also suggests the adoption of a generous sick-day policy, which addresses both the immediate employee’s needs while also protecting their co-workers from communicable illnesses.
In line with the comfort accommodations and self-care strategies, employers should make an effort to provide their employees with safety features to protect their mental health. Experiencing the workplace as a positive environment can protect employees from stress-related mental injuries. Employers should offer policies that support workers’ mental health by making available mechanisms for concerned employees to report safety infractions.
An essential idea for safety has to do with work accident prevention. Simple preventative measures to avoid slip and fall accidents are vital, as observable protective measures, like wearable safety gear and mechanical safeguards. Good practices and vigilant compliance to safety protocols can prevent accidents. Wet floors, cluttered walkways, and threats from sharp objects or hot surfaces present dangers that are avoidable when proper precautions are taken.
In the event that an accident happens despite precautions, work areas should be equipped with emergency response devices, such as fire extinguishers, defibrillators, and eye wash stations. There should be a first-aid kit easily accessible to address injuries. Additionally, the work area should have postings that indicate the location of fire exits and maps of emergency escape routes.
One of the most important elements for a workplace safety plan is execution. In order for the plan to work, people need to be trained and kept up to date on any changes.
Employees who are injured on the job while performing their work duties are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Such benefits can help with the costs of medical appointments, physical therapy, or devices needed during recovery. After accident, an injured worker should hire a lawyer to protect their rights to compensation.
Our Pittsburgh Workers’ Compensation lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. have the experience to help injured workers navigate the system and fight for fair compensation to cover the losses they suffered because of work accidents. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 412-765-1888. Located in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.