While some jobs are more dangerous than others, every job can pose risks to workers. Every year, thousands of workers are injured on the job. Employers have certain responsibilities to their employees to keep them safe at work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) works to protect people from on the job dangers by enforcing strict safety regulations. Employers must follow these regulations or face citations and potential workplace closure if their employees are exposed to an unsafe work environment. The following workplace safety tips can help keep a safe environment for all workers:
Follow All Fall Protection Protocols
Whether an individual slips on a wet surface or falls from a height, falls can cause serious and debilitating injuries. OSHA has numerous fall protection requirements, including utilizing guardrails and toe-boards, keeping all surfaces free of liquids, and notifying workers of any present dangers. Employers are responsible for providing all necessary training to workers, including training on what safety precautions workers need to take to prevent falls.
The fall injury lawyers at Liggett Law Group see injured workers too often and we’ve identified fall prevention tips to help ensure workers stay safe and uninjured, including:
- Make sure all ladders and stepstools are used correctly. One of the most common causes of falls with ladders occurs because ladders are not on a flat, even surface. This is just as important for small ladders and stepstools too. Even a small movement can easily cause someone on a ladder to lose their balance.
- Never use chairs or other items in place of a ladder. Ladders can be cumbersome and you may not always want to retrieve one if you just need a little boost, but using anything other than a ladder to get extra height could easily cause a fall. Things like chairs aren’t meant to be stood upon, and a person could lose their balance.
- Keep the floor dry. Any bit of liquid on the floor could cause a fall. If a spill or other liquid can’t immediately be cleaned up, be sure to put out cones or signs warning everyone of the hazard. A little bit of water on the floor might not seem like a big deal, but a slip and fall could cause extremely painful back injuries.
- Provide adequate training. While not all workers are going to be working from heights, anyone that is needs appropriate training. This means employers need to provide workers with safety training to understand how to keep themselves and others safe.
- Always use fall harnesses. Anyone that is working from a height needs a fall harness to help prevent tragic accidents. Employers are expected to provide workers will all necessary equipment, including fall harnesses.
Operate All Equipment, Tools, and Vehicles Properly
Each workplace has a unique set of tools, equipment, and vehicles that are operated by employees. All workers must follow certain protocols to stay safe when using the tools, equipment, and vehicles required to perform their jobs.
Some workplaces require the use of ladders. Ladders are an obvious danger and OSHA issues many ladder citations each year. These citations can include surpassing a ladder’s maximum weight load, not properly supporting a ladder, and maintaining the minimum required distance away from individuals using a ladder. Workers must follow ladder safety protocols provided by OSHA to stay safe.
All employers must put practices and procedures in place to safeguard employees from unexpected energization, the start up of a piece of machinery or equipment, and the sudden release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance. A lockout/tagout system will help prevent unexpected energization and unexpected releases of energy. All machinery and equipment must also have guards to protect workers from being snagged, caught, pinched, or entangled in the machinery.
Some jobs require workers to operate cars, trucks, forklifts, or other large machinery. Industrial trucks or forklifts cause thousands of injuries each year. A workers needs special training and permits to operate these vehicles and must always exercise caution when operating them near other workers.
Wear Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
Employers are required to provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help keep workers safe while on the job. On some worksites, there are numerous substances that can cause respiratory injuries when inhaled. Workers dealing with chemicals or small airborne particles must be supplied with respiratory protection.
Protecting workers against eye injuries usually comes down to equipment. Glasses, goggles, and face shields are all effective in protecting against different risks, but they are only effective if they are used consistently, chosen for the correct hazards, and worn properly. Employers must provide the correct safety gear to workers and must also train them in proper use. Goggles are not helpful in protecting the eyes if they do not fit and thus allow particles or chemicals to enter the eye area.
Additional workplace safety measures can reduce potential hazards. For instance, working in well-ventilated areas can reduce harmful particles or vapors in the air. Wet-sanding and using vacuum sanders can greatly reduce the dust and other debris cast off by sanding jobs, while similar processes may reduce the risks of other jobs.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Texas weather presents unique risks for workers in all industries. From hurricanes to tornados, extreme weather conditions can cause serious injuries. The best way to protect workers from injuries related to severe weather and high winds is to constantly monitor the weather conditions. In addition to monitoring the weather, follow these workplace safety tips for severe weather on the jobsite:
- Bring loose tools and other items indoors. Wind can be strong enough to pick up small objects like hammers or metal chains, which can cause life-threatening injuries if they strike a person.
- Make sure equipment and large objects are secure. Things like signs, chairs, and generators can suffer damage during storms. In addition, the wind could cause these items to move or fall over, potentially injuring nearby workers.
- Watch out for sparks. While small sparks are usually not a cause for concern, lightning strikes can start fires.
Lubbock Workplace Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one is injured on the job, you need experienced lawyers on your side that have thorough knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations governing workplace safety. Contact Liggett Law Group today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Lubbock workplace accident attorney.