Employers have legal and ethical obligations to provide a healthful workplace that minimizes unnecessary hazards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration establishes standards employers must follow to keep workers safe. Additionally, workers have the right to file complaints with OSHA when safety violations occur.
Workplace safety standards
There are specific regulations for different industries as well as general occupational safety rules that most employers should follow. For example, workplace equipment and machinery need proper repair and maintenance. In addition, employers should ensure workers have adequate training to do their jobs safely. There should be records documenting safety issues and workplace injuries that workers can easily access. Finally, companies need to give employees protective equipment relevant to their work, including helmets, gloves and ventilators.
Unsafe conditions for workers
When employers neglect to meet occupational safety standards, workers often end up paying the price. For example, if a construction company does not adequately educate workers on fall prevention and fails to provide scaffolding and safety equipment, a major fall could occur, possibly resulting in severe injury or death. Similarly, a hospital that lacks sufficient personal protective equipment, such as masks or face shields, risks serious illness for healthcare workers.
Employees who encounter safety issues in the workplace should discuss those concerns with their employers. Unfortunately, some businesses do not prioritize worker health, and employees should also consider filing a complaint with OSHA and requesting an inspection. Injured workers can also file for workers’ compensation to help with lost income and medical expenses.
Companies must follow the law and take steps to keep employees safe and healthy at work.