How Much Do You Know About Workplace Safety?

Workplace Safety

An experienced personal injury lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you love is injured on the job.As the National Safety Council states“every worker deserves to make it home safe – every day”. In 1970, the federal government instituted OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act which governs workplace health and safety regulations and compiles annual statistics relating to workplace safety incidents. Despite OSHA conducting 32,020 federal inspections and 40,993 State Plan inspections, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 5,147 workers were killed on the job in 2017. That equates to about 14 people per day. For every worker and employer, knowing more about workplace safety will lead to less injuries and fatalities on the job.

The “Fatal Four”

In 2017, one in five workers deaths was in the construction field. These four causes were responsible for more than half (59.9%) of those.

  • Falls
  • Struck by Object
  • Electrocution
  • Caught/Crushed

The Department of Labor says that eliminating these Fatal Four could save 582 workers’ lives every year in America.

OSHA and other state and federal departments are working hard to make workplace safety the highest priority in every industry. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Believe it or not, in some industries, workplace safety has a bad rap.

Below are 3 myths about workplace safety, debunked.

Myth One: It’s impossible to create a hazard-free work area.

This line of thinking is dangerous because it creates a “safety is a futile effort” mentality for employers. When employers are informed and proactive about what it takes to create an injury-free workplace, safety is a very attainable goal. The proper planning, education, discipline and diligence can create a hazard-free workplace in any industry.

Myth Two: Following OSHA safety standards requires too much time and money.

Anyone who feels this way has clearly never considered how much time and money is wasted when accidents do occur. From direct costs: workers compensation, medical payments and legal fees to indirect costs: training replacements, damaged equipment, lost productivity, lower employee morale and more absenteeism, employers pay for unsafe work environments.

Myth Three: Accidents happen.

Research shows that most workplace accidents are preventable. By taking workplace safety seriously and actively participating in and pursuing a safe environment every day on the job, workers and employers can achieve an injury-free workplace.

But what happens when an employer fails to create a safe environment for their workers? Ultimately the worker is the one who will suffer most from this situation. OSHA laws state workers right in these situations.

Determining the best course of action depends on the severity of the situation. The question is: Are you in imminent danger?

If You Are In Imminent Danger

You have the right to refuse to work. Immediately call the OSHA phone line at 800-321-OSHA and 911 if anyone needs medical attention. Imminent danger situations require that the following criteria are met:

  • you believe that performing your work poses a real danger of death or serious physical injury
  • your employer refuses to correct the problem, and
  • there isn’t enough time to eliminate the danger through other means, such as requesting an OSHA inspection.

If You Are Not In Imminent Danger

Start by bringing the hazard to your employers’ attention. Document your report by putting it in writing with the employer or simply by keeping your own record including the date, time and who you reported it to. If you are afraid to talk to your employer, you may report it directly to OSHA or other governing state agency. If your employer does nothing or threatens to take action against you for reporting a hazard, you should contact OSHA to file a complaint. You can do this anonymously or give your name.

If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury on the job, contact The Personal Injury Department at The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP is a full-service law firm serving Bakersfield, California and all of Kern County. Our firm is recognized as a leader in the community, and we offer and extensive and wide variety of legal services including, but not limited to water law, personal injury, business law, employment and labor law, estate planning, real estate, and much more. Please reach out today to talk to a member of our team.