Some of the readers of this blog have all kinds of businesses. Others have to attend super-boring safety sessions at work. The safety issues are not very glamorous. Yet they can be important. For example, your boss has to provide all the safety equipment for you. This sounds trivial, yet it does not always hold, especially in organizations with low transparency. This article may be a bit dry, yet it is extremely dense and informative. [Lev]
According to the reports of The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4,764 fatal work injuries were reported in the country in 2020. Most of these injuries were reported due to slip and fall, which is also one of the top reasons employees file for workers’ compensation and wrongful death claims.
Stating the obvious, every employee is entitled to work in a safe, protected, and lively environment. Failure to comply with federal and safety regulations will affect the businesses to a great extent, including financial burden. Therefore, it is important that you learn about workplace safety laws and regulations and implement them in your workplace as soon as possible.
What Is Workplace Safety Law?
Workplace safety law consists of numerous state and federal regulations and guidelines. These guidelines are implemented to ensure the health and safety of workers and lower the risk of accidents and other work-related illnesses.
The guidelines are provided and governed by The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The administration has the right to investigate any case of guideline violation and issue citations for the same. Failure to comply with the necessary laws is also subjected to financial penalties or even imprisonment.
There are three goals that sum up the rules and regulations of OSHA:
- To improve the health and safety of all employees, regardless of the industry, by minimizing exposure to injuries, fatalities, illnesses, and hazards.
- To elevate workplace culture by educating both employer and employee about safety laws, their respective rights, and commitment to comply with the laws.
- To enhance the public’s confidence in top-notch OSHA services and program development and delivery.
These goals are monitored at the national level, ensuring the majority of the businesses (if not all) follow them.
What Is Covered Under Workplace Safety?
As mentioned above, the term workplace safety is referred to as a quality and safe working environment in an organization. It includes the following factors:
- Environmental hazards
- Unsafe working conditions or processes
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- On-site violence
- Job-related stress
- Use of mechanical assistance
- Appropriate use of tools
- Easily accessible crisis exits.
Not being able to provide appropriate safety to your employees may lead to fatal and non-fatal injuries. In the case of workplace injury and wrongful death matters, your employees have the right to consult an attorney and file a civil lawsuit. The attorney will draft a plan to provide financial compensation to the employee.
What Are HR’s Responsibilities For Workplace Safety?
In any business, regardless of the industry, it is the responsibility of the human resources department to ensure compliance with all the necessary guidelines and rules. Here’s what they can do:
- Provide Employee Training
It doesn’t matter which industry you are a part of; providing safety training to your employees, new as well as existing employees, is critical. It improves their knowledge, enhances overall business productivity, and also minimizes the chances of any possible risks. For small businesses, minimal safety training, including the use of a first-aid kit, location of safety equipment, and information about emergency exits, is quite appropriate.
On the other hand, for larger businesses or hazardous industries, employees must be trained about the appropriate use of machinery and equipment. Make sure the training is provided in an easy-to-understand language and on a frequent basis. It is especially important that there is continuous up-gradation in the company policies.
- Keep A Record
Another responsibility of HR is to keep a detailed recording of the training, including the employee feedback about whether or not they understood the safety measure and equipment use. You can conduct tests to ensure that employees are ready to use the equipment. Nevertheless, the prime goal is to keep accurate records of the training. Such records come in quite handy during workplace compensation and wrongful death cases.
In addition, you should also keep a record of both employee injuries, minor and major. If the injury is a result of recklessness on the part of the organization, make sure to resolve the issue as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
You must also report the following injuries to OSHA using form 300:
- Occupational Hearing loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Death of an employee
- Any employee receiving medical treatment that’s not limited to first-aid only.
- Provide Safety Equipments
Having a safe and hazard-free workplace is the right of every employee, especially if they are working in high-risk industries such as chemical or construction companies. For this purpose, make sure to provide them with workplace safety equipment or personal protective gear. It may include:
- Foot protection
- Special shoes
- Hard hats
- Eye protection
Depending on the industry you are operating in, you may or may not need to provide them with all of this safety equipment.
- Make Necessary Amendments In Company Policy
Apart from following the OSHA guidelines to improve the company’s safety, managers must also make necessary amendments to the existing company policies. As every organization’s working culture and environment are unique, it would be wise to bring new and helpful changes to the organization.
The policy or handbook can include information about training, mandatory safety rules and guidelines to follow, and dispute redressal procedures. They may also introduce a complaint box or email address, where employees can talk about possible risks, issues, or safety concerns. It will make it easier for the employer to keep a record of the necessary information.
Workplace Safety Tips:
Apart from the key responsibilities of HR mentioned above, you can also use the following tips to improve the health and safety environment of the business.
- Make sure to review the new policies and procedures at least twice a year.
- Identify possible hazards and remove them on a priority basis.
- Create a plan for dealing with emergency situations.
- Understand the industry needs and provide employees training accordingly.
- Regular repair and maintenance of the safety tools and work equipment to lower the risk of damage.
- Make sure your employees are well-versed with new changes and updates.
To Sum It All Up
Compliance with the necessary rules and regulations will help improve your business’s overall operation and atmosphere. It will also protect you from any possible trouble of penalties or even lawsuits.
This article was submitted by Elvira Witt on behalf of “Florida Wrongful Death Lawyers”. A Wrongful Death can occur when the actions of a person, persons or company are determined to be negligent and they cause or are determined to be the legal cause of an injury which leads to a death that otherwise was avoidable.