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Maintaining a Safe Work Environment

Published on Jan 11, 2019 at 4:06 pm in Employment Law.

According to national and state employment laws, it’s an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their employees. No one expects to get injured at work; however, accidents happen when employers neglect their responsibilities.

In 2016, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by employees. While many of these conditions were recoverable, some individuals were not so lucky. Regardless of the severity, if you’ve been injured at work you deserve compensation to manage your medical expenses and lost wages, and your employer should be held accountable for their negligence.

Common Workplace Hazards

Because of the number of workplace injuries and fatalities, hazard patterns are easily identified in the workplace. Here are just a few hazards to watch out for and strive to constantly prevent and avoid:

  • Inadequate fall protection
  • Lack of communication which can lead to mistakes and hazards
  • Scaffolding hazards in the construction industry
  • Improper respiratory protection
  • Improper control of hazardous waste and energy
  • Ladder hazards
  • Errors while operating powered industrial trucks
  • Machinery and machine guarding errors
  • Lack of fall protection training
  • Improper electrical wiring methods, components, and equipment
  • Lack of safety training in general
  • Unsafe and/or unhealthy working environments

Unfortunately, thousands of employees are killed every year as a result of the above hazards.

Steps to Improve Workplace Safety

There are steps employers and employees can take to improve and maintain a safe work environment. Let’s take a look at the most impactful steps:

Identify Safety Issues

Before a workplace can focus on maintaining safety, any and all issues need to be identified. Employers can investigate possible issues by reviewing accident reports and asking employees what their concerns are. Keeping the lines of communication open about these matters can drastically decrease accident rates.

Eliminate Hazards

In order to take care of any hazards identified, a safety plan should be developed. Employees need to understand what is expected of and from an employer. There should be plans established for general protocols, emergency situations, and accidents. Employees should be involved in the development of the safety plan, so they are able to fully understand the plan and take action when necessary.

The workplace should also be free from physical and chemical hazards.

Provide Proper Training

The employer must ensure all employees are provided with safety training in a language they can understand. If trainings are complicated with too many technical terms, the training will not be as effective.

All new employees should receive the training and be tested. There should be a system in place, either scheduled or random, to ensure existing workers are provided with refresher training courses. If any changes are made, all employees will need to be made aware of how those changes affect their jobs.

In order to reinforce trainings, it’s a smart idea to provide visual safety aids and messages. Color codes, posters, labels, and warning signs can remind employees of potential hazards.

Keep Equipment Maintained

Employees should have access to safe tools and equipment. This means that the employer should take responsibility for ensuring the equipment, tools, and machines are properly maintained so they are at peak operating capacity at all times. It can also be effective to educate employees on what an ineffective or poorly maintained machine looks like, so they can report any issues if they arise.

Hold Safety Meetings

A big part of maintaining workplace safety revolves around everyone being on the same page. In order to encourage this, employers may benefit from establishing a workplace health and safety committee made up of employees from different departments. The committee should meet regularly to discuss potential issues and how the workplace is doing overall.

Company-wide meetings should also be held to let employers know about possibly unaddressed issues, how employees are feeling, and what the company could do to improve the safety of their work environment.

As a dedicated, hardworking employee, you deserve safe working conditions. When you aren’t given those and you end up injured, you have the right to take legal action. At McMath Wood P.A., we have the experience needed to help you build a strong workplace injury case. If you’re ready to file your claim after being injured on the job in Little Rock, contact our office today for a free consultation.

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