By Durham Construction Accident Lawyers
This week is North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, a week dedicated to communicating and educating about occupational safety procedures and the implementation of the systems needed in the workplace to ensure employees are protected. As Durham construction accident lawyers, we know that All workers should feel safe at work.
How can you stay safe at work? While it is not possible to guard against every risk that happens at work, you have the right to be safe from harm. As an employee, it is important to know what is likely to happen and to minimize the risk to your safety. Your employer should take steps in the workplace to help keep you safe.
Your employer has a duty to keep your workplace free from harm. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has passed safety standards for the workplace. Employees are entitled to a place of employment which is free from hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. In North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSH), is responsible for seeing that the state standards are followed by employers.
Your employer has a duty to keep your workplace free from violence. The rule requiring safe workplaces is not just for dangerous machines, falls, and materials, it also includes violence. If violence and serious personal injury are hazards of the job, the employer must take the steps it can to minimize the risks. There may be guidelines to prevent workplace violence in your type of work.
Questions to ask to determine if your workplace is safe:
- Is there an understanding of the risk to employee safety? Employers and employees can work together to identify what steps can be taken to prevent violence.
- Who is responsible for the program? Everyone in the workplace should understand their responsibilities and authority.
- Who is responsible for reporting incidents? Employees should be involved and encouraged to report threats and incidents of violence.
- Is training needed to recognize threats, safety and security issues? Training can help employees spot potential security hazards and the procedures to protect themselves and their co-workers.
- What is the past experience with injuries on the job? Has your workplace experienced multiple work injuries? What safety measures were put in place to mitigate these injuries and keep them from happening again?
What steps can you take to feel safe at work? You should consider recommending safety measures to your employer. Physical changes to the work environment can help. Alarm systems, video cameras, locked doors, and improved lighting can help. Work practices are also options that can improve safety. Employees can be prohibited from working alone and staff can be trained to spot hazards and call for help.
If you have any questions, we are here to help! We have two board-certified NC workers’ compensation attorneys – Valerie Johnson and Jennifer Segnere – who know the law. And Valerie Johnson’s book on NC workers’ compensation law is the one lawyers turn to. Your questions about your work environment are questions that we have answered before. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act may provide compensation for wage loss, medical treatment, and permanent bodily damage. If you or a family member has been injured at work, or has a question about a safe work environment, call or chat with us today for an evaluation.