It may be a timeworn phrase, but safety on the job truly is no accident. All types of workplaces have their own specific hazards and thus a strong safety culture is an integral part of any job. Unfortunately, workers in the United States continue to become injured or ill at unacceptable levels due to their work environment. Employee injuries can have lifelong implications for the worker and their ability to earn a living, as well as enjoy normal daily activities. For the employer, worker injuries cause lost work time, impact production, and can result in serious financial and legal consequences. With workers being injured on the job, there are preventive actions a company should take to encourage a safe work environment.
Tracking accident data is the main way to identify the hazards and provide concrete information on how to mitigate them. Employers have the responsibility by law to ensure that safety practices and applicable regulations are being implemented. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency tasked with enforcing workplace health and safety and tracking injury data in American workplaces. OSHA also provides a wealth of information to employers on best practices and training resources. However, the employer is responsible to ensure that their workplace culture supports and reinforces practices that can prevent serious incidents.
Common barriers exist that make employees reluctant to speak out about safety risks. If the company’s safety culture does not promote incident reporting, employees will be less likely to speak up. Fear of retaliation affecting their job security is a common threat that workers report. If there is a common belief that reporting a problem will result in negative consequences, workers are far less likely to come forward.
There are whistleblower laws to protect those who report violations of the law, but they are not foolproof. Employers can offset this by making clear in company policy that no one will be disciplined or lose their job for addressing a safety or health issue. If employees believe that their concerns will be filed away in a drawer, they are unlikely to get involved. Furthermore, if the company system for reporting incidents is unnecessarily complicated, it also discourages action.
Employers in all industries can take steps to improve their safety culture. Management should involve employee leaders on safety teams and solicit their input when designing workflow processes. A workplace that routinely requires employees to work without proper protective equipment, dismisses employee concerns, and provides insufficient onboarding and training is not promoting a culture of safety. If you were hurt in a workplace accident, having a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer on your side is the best course of action you can take.
If you were injured at work, the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP are ready to fight for you. We will work to obtain the compensation and care you deserve. Please complete our online form for a free consultation or call us at 267-589-0090. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across Pennsylvania.