Workplace safety isn’t supposed to be simply an abstract concept. It’s not enough for your employer to remind people to work safely or simply to refrain from encouraging unsafe behavior in the name of increased production.
Instead, there are four very concrete steps that employers are supposed to take, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They are:
1. Putting up an OSHA notice where workers can see it. This informs them about job safety and helps them understand when they see something that may break OSHA’s guidelines.
2. Eliminating safety and health hazards. This includes anything that could lead to serious injuries or fatal accidents. Some steps are very basic, like ensuring that all catwalks have secure guardrails, while others are more complex.
3. Giving workers the safety training they need. Employers are often tempted to gloss over safety training so that employees can get to work faster, but rushed or nonexistent training leads to accidents.
4. Recording all deaths and injuries in the workplace. This includes those that happen because of accidents and those that are linked back to exposure to hazardous materials.
Of course, any accidents also have to be reported in a timely manner, especially those that do result in fatalities.
Employers in the modern era do provide safer workplaces than they did in the past, in part because OSHA is so strict and because breaking the guidelines can result in heavy fines. However, employees are still injured year in and year out, and it’s important for them to know about all of their legal rights when an injury strikes.
Source: FindLaw, “Protecting Yourself from Unsafe Working Conditions,” accessed Sep. 08, 2017