An experienced workers' compensation lawyer knows there are thousands of injuries and even deaths on the job every year in the United States, including in Scranton. Many of injuries and fatalities could be prevented if all Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards were followed and if employers and employees made safety a top priority.
To draw attention to the importance of workplace safety and to raise public awareness about some of the on-the-job safety issues that exist, North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) week is celebrated each year during the first full week of May. This year, thousands of individuals and organizations participated in NAOSH week as part of a broader effort to improve the safety of workplaces throughout North America.
Special events like NAOSH week are an important part of public education and of demonstrating that worker safety needs to be a top priority. The important thing to remember, though, is that workplace safety is not something to consider only once a year or only when an OSHA inspector is coming. Employers and employees need to make a commitment to following best practices for safety every day in order to make an impact on reducing the number of injuries and deaths that happen on U.S. worksites.
Prioritizing Worker Safety Every Day
One study asked workers to rate the importance of different labor law issues, including minimum wage; family leave; paid sick leave; paternity leave; paid overtime; union organizing rights; and worker safety standards. A full 85 percent of workers responding to the survey said that the most important laws that matter to them are safety laws and standards.
Employers also consistently rank worker safety as one of the most important issues. Employers have a lot of good reasons to care about creating the safest workplace that they can. An employer should focus on safety to avoid OSHA fines for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and should focus on safety to avoid costly workers' compensation claims. Workers are also more motivated to be productive when they are not concerned about getting hurt on-the-job and when they feel their employers prioritize a safe workplace. This means following all safety standards can both increase productivity and help employers reduce injury costs and legal liability.
Although both employers and employees have strong incentives to focus on safety, there are still dangerous conditions in many workplaces, including inadequate lighting, poor environmental hygiene, missing protective equipment or protective gear, misused safety equipment, missing safety gear, insufficient training, confusing or unclear safety protocols, and slippery and poorly maintained walking surfaces.
NAOSH week is an important opportunity to identify and correct any of the top safety issues that exist in each individual workplace. Health and Human Services suggests that those who participate benefit due to the creation of a more safety-minded culture as well as improved attitudes on workplace safety. More cooperation between employers and employees is fostered, and awareness is raised of worker safety issues. This awareness should ideally last all year long.
A Scranton accident attorney at O'Malley & Langan can help. Call (800) 817-2667 today to schedule your free consultation. Serving Lackawanna, Luzerne, Bradford, Schuykill, Lehigh, Monroe, Wyoming and Wayne counties and surrounding areas.