No matter where you work, your employer has to abide by certain safety guidelines in the workplace. These guidelines, usually mandated by government agencies, ensure that workers stay free from injury and harassment and help to make sure that everyone uses good judgment around heavy machinery or while performing job duties. However, workplace safety issues can crop up, especially if an employer has been negligent with employee training or providing safety equipment.
Regardless of what your employer has provided for you and other workers, you should be familiar with what can happen on the job. Here are a few common workplace safety issues that can crop up:
- Employers don’t inform workers of their job responsibilities. Before you begin work, you should receive information from your employer on your job expectations. This may include any potential hazards, such as if you have to be around any dangerous materials. You should also be informed of how much you are expected to lift or carry, what conditions you may work in (indoors or outdoors), and how many hours per day you may be on your feet.
- Workers don’t follow proper safety measures around heavy machinery. Any job where construction equipment, forklifts, power tools, or other devices are used on a regular basis should include employee training on proper safety. For example, if a forklift is being used in an aisle in a warehouse, then the area should be cleared from other workers, so no one gets hurt. All employees who use such equipment should also be certified to do so.
- Employers don’t provide you with reasonable accommodations. If you have a disability, are recovering from an injury, or have any other conditions that may prevent you from carrying out your job duties, your employer is expected to provide you with reasonable accommodations to help you stay employed. This can mean adjusting a schedule for an employee with physical therapy or giving a pregnant cashier a stool to sit on while at her register. Employers who don’t accommodate workers with documented medical conditions may be violating employment laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In the event that you are injured on the job, you should be able to speak with a personal injury attorney about filing for workers’ compensation. You can file a claim with through your personal injury lawyer or through another government agency. You can also find out more information on workplace safety issues, regardless of whether you’ve been involved in an on-the-job accident, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Have more questions? Talk to an employment attorney about your concerns or leave a comment below.