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Last Updated on by Noni May
No one wants to go to work fearing for their safety while doing their job. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your workplace is a safe environment for your employees, customers, and any other visitors. It has to be free of all known dangers and there are minimum standards in relation to a wide range of matters, including proper building and equipment maintenance, training in the use of equipment, and basic people safety.In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed, the aim being to lower the risk of people being injured or killed while they were at work. This act also created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is the government body that enforces the safety and health laws. They also offer advice and training in these matters. Most employers come under their jurisdiction, but there are a few exceptions. For instance, the self-employed are not covered by the regulations, and nor are the immediate family members of farm employers.
Avoiding death and injury are the obvious reasons for keeping your employees safe, but they are not the only ones. Your business can be badly affected by accidents, and in some cases, they have been the cause of businesses having to close.
For businesses to survive they have to be profitable. When there is an accident in the workplace and a worker is injured or dies, there will be an impact on the fiancés of the employer. There will be working time lost while the accident victim is dealt with, and OSHA may want to inspect the workplace before work restarts, depending on the severity of the injuries or if a death is involved.
For instance, if a worker is injured in an accident in an oilfield and production is stopped, that could cost the company a lot of money. Apart from medical services being involved, oilfield injury lawyers could also be called in to assist the victim, and this could increase the cost to the company even more. It’s really not worth it!
No employers want any of their workers to be in an accident in the workplace, but if they are already struggling, this financial loss could be disastrous.
It is well known that happy workers are more productive, but they will not be happy if they do not feel safe. You should look for any apparent dangers and do your best to eliminate them, and this is not just a one-off task. You should check your workplace regularly and chat to the workers about any hazards they may spot. In fact, they should all be made aware that if a new danger becomes apparent, they should report it straight away. If it is not dealt with they should make a nuisance of themselves until something is done to correct the situation.
At the end of the day, it is them that are most at risk, and you will find they will let you know if new dangers appear.
A safe workplace will be a more productive workplace, and that is what all businesses need. The quality of the work produced will also be better, as the workforce will be more motivated to do a good job. Employees respond well to the fact that their employers care enough about them to keep them safe while they are doing their jobs.
Safety and health in the workplace has to work both ways. If you have procedures in place, you have to ensure that your employees abide by the rules so that they do not put themselves or other workers in danger. The same applies to wearing the correct safety gear. If it is needed they should be made to wear it. It might not be the best fashion accessory, but it could save them from being injured or maybe worse.
Businesses are built on their reputation and any bad publicity will do them harm. If a worker is seriously injured or killed in an accident at work, it does not need to reach national media for their reputation to be adversely affected. People locally will know what has happened, and many will stop dealing with a business that could not prevent accidents from happening.
Consumers are much more aware these days of things such as safety measures and businesses being eco-friendly, and often they will avoid companies that fall below standard in these matters.
That is all down to trust. If customers lose their trust in your business, they will stop buying from you and hearing that you have not kept your workforce safe could be one of the first steps towards trust disappearing.
Having to replace employees can be time-consuming and costly. Even when you have found new workers, they have to be trained in the ways of your business, and that will decrease production until they are up to speed. If your employees feel unsafe in their working environment, they will start to look for jobs elsewhere.
They do have a legal right to report unsafe practices to OSHA, but research shows that most of them would rather leave their job than do this. It appears they often make a report after they have left, to safeguard their workmates.
Employee retention can be vitally important to the smooth running of your business and keeping existing employees will certainly help to keep your bottom line looking good.
Some employer’s think that safety and health are too costly and put their profits before anything else. In the long run, this will cost them more. There is not just the possibility of someone being injured or killed, they could face heavy fines and penalties from OSHA and even be closed down by them. Safety first has to be the way to go, and then you will not have to live with the regrets that someone has had their life changed because of injuries sustained in your unsafe workplace.
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