Workplace safety and health programs are put into place to prevent work-related injuries and fatalities. Good programs can also have positive effects on employee morale, recruitment, and company reputation. Ineffective safety programs may erode morale and discourage workers from reporting incidents.
Workplace safety and health programs are not required by law, however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides helpful guidelines for creating effective programs. OSHA recommendations include the following:
Management commitment: Managers at all levels must be fully committed to worker health and safety. Rather than just giving lip service to safety, employers should demonstrate that safety is their way of doing business and a core company value.
Worker participation: An effective program encourages workers to identify potential safety hazards and share suggestions. Employers can accomplish this by establishing safety committees involving all levels of workers, including contractors and temporary employees. Workers and supervisors should jointly conduct regular safety inspections and cooperate to identify and control hazards. This includes verifying the effectiveness of any changes made.
Education and training: Providing safety education and training during work hours is very important. In addition to learning safety procedures and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), workers should be educated about what to do in emergency situations. Companies may also want to consider creating safety certification programs.
Communication: Workers should be provided with simple, convenient ways to communicate safety concerns and report injuries. A good safety program offers rewards to workers for reporting workplace accidents and near misses. This is different than rewarding workers for zero accidents, because that may pressure workers to conceal injuries and incidents. Providing an option for anonymously reporting incidents can also encourage communication if workers fear retaliation.
When employers do not take safety issues seriously, workers have the most to lose. Workers know the most about the hazards confronting them on the job. If you or someone you know is suffering from a serious work-related illness or injury, contact the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP before accepting a settlement. Our experienced attorneys will help you obtain the full value of your claim. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-512-1500. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania.