Many of the threats that you face at work are unpredictable and therefore impossible to prevent. Your employer would not reasonably expect that a drunk driver would end up going through the picture window at the front of your retail establishment and hurting all of the workers any more than they could predict a lightning strike in the parking lot.
However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes seven different categories of workplace threats, ranging from physical risks and environmental factors to ergonomic concerns. In addition to identifying common hazards that affect every industry, OSHA also highlights safety issues related to specific industries like construction and hospital work.
How should employers handle known safety issues at their company?
They should remain in compliance with safety regulations
There are federal and state regulations that apply to different industries. Employers in the construction sector, for example, have to provide certain safety equipment and training to workers who will handle specific machinery or work at significant elevations.
Companies need to track changing safety regulations and recommendations from industry insiders, as best practices often change before federal policy does.
They should listen to their workers
Whether one employee reports an issue with some machinery not working perfectly or expresses concerns about training shortcuts that mean that new employees don’t handle certain equipment as well as longer-standing staff members, companies need to listen when their employees have safety concerns.
Workers on the job are intimately familiar with the risks that could endanger their health and physical well-being. Unfortunately, some employers will put their profit margin ahead of what is best for the people that they employ.
When companies don’t provide proper equipment, offer adequate training and adhere to safety regulations, their workers may suffer unnecessary injury. Regardless of whether the incident that left you hurt was an unpredictable accident or the result of a known risk factor, you could potentially file a workers’ compensation plan. Securing workers’ compensation benefits will help those affected by known job hazards cover their medical care costs and pay their bills until they get back to work.