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Workers’ Compensation and Common Workplace Safety Hazards

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Workers’ Compensation and Common Workplace Safety Hazards

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies several different workplace hazards, which are major causes of illness and injury. Employers have an obligation to understand and identify hazards. They must also take steps to reduce or minimize these hazards to keep their workers safe. When workers are injured due to hazards, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation.

One of the six OSHA identified hazard categories is safety hazards. Safety hazards are the most common workplace hazard. Safety hazards are present in almost every workplace at one point or another.

Workers' Compensation

They can lead to illness, injury, or even death. When this happens, workers may have a valid workers’ compensation claim for their illness or injury. However, many safety hazards are preventable, or minimizable with proper awareness.

Safety hazards are easily identifiable, and include:

  • dangerous floors
  • work from heights
  • unguarded machinery
  • other machinery related hazards
  • electrical hazards

Dangerous floors

Employers can make the workplace safer by making sure walkways are free of tripping hazards such as clutter. Cords should not stretch across the floor. When spills occur, addressing them immediately is essential. Warnings about wet floors after mopping are essential for employee safety.

Work from Heights

Some obvious workplace dangers include working on ladders, scaffolds, and roofs. However, less obvious, but equally dangerous unsafe practices include standing on office chairs with wheels when trying to reach something up high, or standing on boxes or other objects not fit for purpose. Employee training on the proper ways to work from heights safely is essential.

Unguarded Machinery

Unguarded machinery is not common in all workplace settings. However, where machinery is in use, guards are essential. When an employer allows machinery guards’ removal, the workplace immediately becomes less safe.

Other Machinery Related Hazards

When machines are being repaired, safety procedures preventing unexpected machine start-up, such as lockout-tagout (LOTO) are essential. Forklift operators must receive proper training. Similarly, laboratory employees must receive proper training. Additionally, they should receive tools such as personal protective equipment (PPE) protecting them from hazards such as autoclave burns.

Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards can happen in any workplace. These hazards include frayed cords, improper wiring, and missing ground pins. Electrical hazards also include the improper use of extension cords and flexible cords. Some workers, such as those working on construction sites, face additional electrical hazards such as coming into contact with power lines and lack of ground fault protection.

Worker’s Rights

Workers have the right to work in a safe workplace.  Employers must provide a safe and healthful workplace.  Additionally, OSHA law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law.  These rights include the right to raise concerns about health and safety in the workplace, and the right to report an injury that occurs on the job.  These rights also include the right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

Additional rights of workers include:

  • training in a language you understand;
  • working on safe machines;
  • having required safety gear, such as a harness, or personal protective equipment (PPE) provided to you;
  • protection from toxic chemicals;
  • reviewing records and logs of work related illnesses and injury;
  • get copies of test results done to determine if hazards exist in the workplace; and
  • if you are injured or become ill on the job, the right to report your injury or illness and obtain copies of your relevant medical records.

Workers’ Compensation for Job Related Injuries and Illness

If you are injured on the job, or if you have become ill, you have rights. At Rosner Law Offices, P.C., our attorneys are well versed in workers’ compensation laws.  Let us take on your case, while you focus on your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation at 856-692-6500.

Additional Reading:

Understanding New Jersey Workers’ Compensation System

The Most Commonly Filed Workers’ Compensation Claims in the U.S.

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