The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) was created with the intention of preventing workers from getting injured while on the job. However, tens of thousands of people are injured in their workplace every year, due in no small part to people who violate OSHA regulations and other laws intended to protect worker safety. Here are five common reasons workers suffer preventable injuries on the job:
- Lack of personal protective equipment
- One of the easiest ways for employers to protect their workers from harm is to issue personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, to protect them from common hazards. These may include insulated gloves to work near and around electrical equipment, hardhats to avoid getting hurt by falling objects, safety goggles to protect the eyes, masks to prevent exposure to toxic gasses, or any other type of similar equipment. When employers fail to provide their workers with this protective equipment, it significantly increases the likelihood of a preventable injury.
- Lack of fall protection
- By far the most common form of injury on work sites are those related to falling, usually from some kind of elevated platform. There are plenty of safety measures that can be taken to prevent falls, including installing safety rails on raised platforms, putting safety nets below scaffolding, or ensuring workers have personal arrest systems that prevent them from hurting themselves if they fall. When employers do not have proper fall protection in place, it can make a preventable injury much more likely.
- Lack of safety mechanisms on tools and equipment
- Many workers, especially construction workers, use tools and equipment that is capable of inflicting severe injury if they are mishandled. From power tools like electric drills and rivet guns, to heavy equipment like lathes or furnaces, or even vehicles like forklifts and cement mixers, all are capable of causing substantial harm with just a moment of carelessness. Safety mechanisms should be in place on these tools and equipment to minimize the risk of injury, but if they are not in place, or workers are not trained to use them properly, it significantly increases the chance of a preventable injury.
- Failure to conduct inspections
- Nearly every type of workplace must undergo inspections to ensure they are complying with health and safety standards. While these might be conducted by the government, many businesses are also supposed to ensure their workplace and equipment also meets safety standards on their own. When businesses fail to keep up with inspections, they can potentially miss hazards, broken equipment, or other issues that can result in a preventable injury.
- Failure to warn of hazardous conditions
- Identifying a potential hazard at a workplace is only the first step. You also need to warn workers of those hazards, and take other steps to address them where possible. This includes, at minimum, putting up signs warning of potential hazards, and ensuring workers have the protection they need to deal with those hazards. When workers are not warned of potential dangers to their health and safety, they are much more likely to get hurt.
If you have been involved in an accident at a construction job site or other workplace, it is important to speak with an attorney to be informed of your legal rights. The personal injury lawyers at Zlotolow & Associates can bring more than two decades of experience to your case. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts. To schedule a consultation, you can call us toll-free at (886) 800-0092, or you can visit our contact page.