No job comes without safety hazards. Regardless of whether you work on a construction site, in an office or a science lab, your health and safety will be on the line. Nebraska company owners must take the necessary precautions to protect employees from harm in the workplace, and knowing the potential threats to your safety may provide further protection.
You may be surprised to learn that most workplace accidents are preventable, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety guidelines to cover all industries. With the appropriate respect and diligence for the regulations, you may avoid situations in which you will lose income due to workplace injuries.
Types of hazards you may encounter
Some occupational hazards are hidden, and if your employer fails in his or her duty to inform you of the dangers of your job, you might have to look out for your own safety. The following less obvious dangers might be lurking in your workplace:
- Physical -- Physical hazards are likely the most apparent and could include anything from slip-and-fall accidents in any workplace to falls from scaffolds or trench collapses. Lesser-known dangers for which to look out include violence in the workplace, excessive noise, radiation and more. However, the necessary administrative and engineering controls could prevent injuries. Along with hard hats, fall harnesses, hearing protection, safety glasses and specialized gloves, lockout/tagout devices and safety guards on heavy machinery may protect you from harm.
- Chemical -- Chemicals in your workplace could be flammable and toxic. Some are carcinogenic and may pose risks of tissue and organ damage. Working with chemicals can also expose you to the risk of skin and eye damage while inhaling some fumes could damage your lungs. The use of computers and robotics may limit those threats, and along with adequate safety training, personal protective gear such as respirators, gloves and safety glasses might keep you safe.
- Biological -- You may be working in an environment that exposes you to biological hazards that could lead to allergies, infections and other more severe conditions. Micro-organisms and parasites could enter your body through your skin and any wounds you may have, consumption of food that is contaminated or by breathing it in. Infection control programs and immunization may form part of your company's safety program, and proper workplace hygiene may provide further protection.
- Psychological -- You may not even recognize this as an occupational hazard although psychological damage poses severe health threats -- both physical and mental. This type of hazard includes work overload, lack of support from superiors and colleagues, the vagueness of your role and duties, and if workplace violence is prevalent, the risk of psychological harm is even higher.
If you are suffering the consequences of an occupational injury or illness that resulted from exposure to any of these workplace hazards, you deserve fair compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. You can obtain benefits through the Nebraska workers' compensation insurance system. Proving that your injury or ailment is work-related might be challenging, and the legal and administrative processes for filing benefits claims can be complicated. Fortunately, you are entitled to seek professional support and guidance.