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What You Need to Know About Workplace Safety

Workplace safety issues can costs businesses untold amounts of money. Not only in lawsuits but in fines, lowered productivity, medical and insurance costs, lost wages, damaged equipment and materials, accident reporting, etc. Some employers can even be prosecuted with criminal charges. At the same time, workers in the United State have a legal right to a safe workplace environment. Workplace injuries are more common that you might think. There are at least several million non-fatal workplace injuries in the private sector every year. You may be familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency that sets the standards and enforces workplace safety. OSHA was created in 1970 as part of the US Dept. of Labor.  Under OSHA an employer is required to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards, inform workers of OSHA health and safety standards, put up a poster in a prominent place that details rights and responsibilities under OSHA, establish written guidelines for health and safety, and inform employees about the existence and location of their medical exposure records. Employees are free to contact OSHA to make complaints and ask for an inspection. If OSHA deems an inspection necessary they will undertake one and then meet with the employer to address any possible deficiencies. States also govern workplace safety issues and you should be familiar with your local jurisdiction. Here are some basic tips for business and manufacturing environments: Have a safety program in place that requires workers to wear appropriate safety clothing, and other proper attire, store tools after use, store tools in proper locations, have instruction manuals on hand, have work areas inspected, shut down equipment when not in use, maintain proper lighting, and strictly prohibit drugs and alcohol. Here are some basic tips for an average office environment: Have a safety program in place that insures that an work environment is clutter free, maintain clear lines of vision, have training on office equipment such as Xerox, provide correct lighting, schedule breaks, inspect objects such as fire sprinklers, keep fire doors clear, inspect electrical, have reporting systems in place, etc. There are many overlap safety strategies for both types of environments and specialized businesses may require even further safety protocols. If you are the subject of a workplace safety lawsuit, you should contact your insurance carriers and business attorney for advice. Even if you are not subject to a claim but have concerns as your business expands it is wise to obtain legal counsel as you go forward. R. D. Adair, PLLC offers experienced business counsel and can assist you with your  workplace safety issues. To learn more about workplace safety issues, or how we can assist you in a related matter, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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