In the U.S., workers’ compensation is in place so that employees don’t have to lose out on money if they have to take time off after being injured or getting sick from work. Unfortunately, certain occupations are exempt from workers’ compensation rights, such as seasonal farm workers. Despite the dangerous conditions these employees have to work in, they’re on their own if something happens on the job.
Improving workplace safety will lead to fewer employees who have to be treated for life-threatening injuries incurred on the job, which lowers the rate of wrongful deaths. For employees that don’t have access to the healthcare they need, employers must do their best to keep them safe.
Regular Safety Inspections
Every workplace has to be inspected on a regular basis in order to stay current with safety requirements. An occupational health and safety specialist or an OSHA inspector will visit factories, offices, and other work settings to ensure there are no hazards, toxic materials, faulty hardware, or procedures that put workers at risk. If they do find any risks, the inspector will take the steps necessary to record and eliminate the risks, and they may even create new safety programs for businesses to follow moving forward.
You may assume that regular offices don’t require health inspections. However, there are risks you might not even realize are there. In old buildings, the inspector will make sure that there isn’t any asbestos or lead that could make employees sick.
Building Strong Unions
It’s almost always in the worker’s best interest to be part of a union, especially when it comes to keeping the workplace safe. Union agreements usually state, in no uncertain terms, requirements for safety equipment and breaks in order to keep employees healthy and safe. If there’s a complaint to be made to OSHA, the union can handle it, and workplaces that are unionized have a greater chance of being inspected.
Also, simply having a union can make an employer want to improve workplace safety so they don’t have to worry about OSHA inspections. Additionally, workplaces that are unionized often have quality health insurance packages, which can help workers even if they do get injured or sick on the job.
Whether or not it’s possible to unionize a workplace, it’s always possible to create teams of employees who focus on safety. Whether the team brings their issues to a union or they have to tackle problems on their own, workplaces with a culture of safety will support employees in their efforts to identify and improve safety concerns.
Creating a Workplace Culture That Prioritizes Safety
Job seekers who care about working in a safe environment may want to choose their profession wisely. For example, if you want to work in the energy industry, consider the type of energy being produced, as different niches of this industry can involve different risks. Electricians have risky jobs, so you may want to lean toward jobs in solar or wind energy, which tend to have safer working conditions.
The employer has a responsibility to hire the best candidates for the job too. It’s tempting to hire quickly when a sudden need arises, but doing so could make the workplace unsafe place for the new employee and anybody who has to work with him or her. Candidates should be screened to ensure they know how to do their job and follow safety precautions.
Safety should be woven into the fabric of the corporate culture of your organization. It must be integrated into everything that goes on at the company, from how often employees are allowed to take breaks and how their desk is set up to the safety wear they’re provided and the chemicals they’re exposed to.
The unfortunate truth is that some workplace accidents result in death, leaving a family alone to deal with heartbreak, upheaval, and financial pressures. There’s a lot that can be changed about the conditions of many work settings, and employees should know that they can make a difference when they band together. It’s always easier if safety is a priority from the top down. However, even if management isn’t making workplace safety a priority yet, it’s up to employees to bring the issue to the table — their lives depend on it.