Under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, employers have a duty to provide workplaces that are free of known health and safety hazards. They must also comply with the safety and health standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to safeguard employees from these known risks. Keeping the workplace safe should be a priority for all Pennsylvania employers. The following are some ways to do so:
Prevent Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are among the most common types of workplace accidents, accounting for 15 percent of all accidental deaths. Employers can help prevent these types of accidents by:
- Installing adequate flooring: Select the appropriate type of flooring for the work environment and replace ripped, worn carpet and damaged flooring.
- Using appropriate cleaners: Use the right cleaning products for the job and keep floors clean and dry.
- Cleaning up spills promptly: Clean up spills and leaks promptly and post signage around slip hazards.
- Clearing the walkways: Keep emergency exits, stairways, and aisles clear of clutter to avoid slip and fall injuries.
Create an Ergonomic Workspace
Poorly designed workspaces can lead to ergonomic injuries, which accounted for 33 percent of all worker injury and illness cases in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Implementing an ergonomic process can help prevent:
- Musculoskeletal injuries: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common type of injury associated with lack of ergonomics in the workplace.
- Falling object injuries: Place heavy objects on lower shelves, keep tools away from edges, and do not stack materials overhead to prevent falling object injuries, including concussion, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries.
- Repetitive stress injuries: Ergonomics can help prevent repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Keep It Clean
Housekeeping is essential to keeping the workplace safe. OSHA requires employers to establish and maintain good housekeeping practices, including:
- Properly disposing of all flammable and combustible materials: OSHA requires employers to dispose of all flammable and combustible materials either at the end of the work-shift or the workday to help prevent fires and explosions.
- Cleaning dust and debris: Dust and other debris must be regularly cleaned as they pose a fire hazard and can also lead to respiratory diseases.
- Storing and labeling chemicals: Under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, employers are required to comply with labeling and storing requirements.
Education and training provide workers with the skills they need to perform their jobs safely. In the interest of keeping the workplace safe, employers should therefore:
- Increase worker awareness: To prevent overexertion injuries and burnout, teach workers proper lifting techniques, encourage them to take regular breaks, and advocate for mental health.
- Provide workers with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): The right PPE for the job, such as eye goggles, gloves, and respirators, can help prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Provide specialized training: Explain the hazards and risks of a worker’s job and how to prevent or minimize injury in the workplace.
Pittsburgh Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. Advocate for Employees Injured in Unsafe Workplaces
If you were injured at work or you have a work-related illness, contact a Pittsburgh Workers’ Compensation lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. We proudly serve clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including those in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 412-765-1888.