“A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on Earth. We are seeing untrained workers – many of them temporary workers – killed very soon after starting a new job. This must stop. Employers must train all employees, including temporary workers, on the hazards specific to that workplace – before they start working. – OSHA chief David Michaels
Last week, I stumbled upon this YouTube video, and realized how danger could lurk around the most innocuous of corners.
An accident could happen anywhere, but a workplace which requires workers to face hazards without adequate preparation and protection must not be allowed to continue such a practice with impunity! The Wall Street Journal has reported that OSHA will soon propose that companies employing more than 250 workers must electronically file injury and illness reports that would be publically available. This would effectively turn away workers from places where their safety could be jeopardized! This is surely a welcome move from OSHA. After all, most workplace deaths are ‘preventable’ and we must leave no stone unturned in our efforts to prevent them!
In 2012, 4383 fatalities occurred, depriving 12 families every single day of a loved one! Responsibility for elimating conditions that lead to injury or death rests with both employers and workers. Employers must consciously and intentionally increase awareness of practices that lead to illness or injury. They must increase supervisory oversight and provide the required training to ensure that the workplace is safe. Workers must be encouraged to keep an eye out for possible risks at the workplace and report them. We list some simple steps which employers can take:
While the new OSHA practice may increase the motivation of some employers to upgrade their safety practices, the majority of companies recognize that workplace incidents are bad for business, resulting in financial losses, tarnished reputations, and, most seriously, harm to employees and the community. Even the most vigilant companies continuously find ways to make their workplaces safer and healthier. When I recently visited a manufacturing company, there was a large sign displayed in the lobby stating that the company had not had a safety accident in 435 weeks. As I entered the facility, I noticed that similar signs were posted everywhere. When we were about to take the stairs to the second floor, I was told that it was “company policy to hold the handrail”. Clearly, this is a company that is focused on the safety of all who work at or visit their plants. What was most impressive, however, was the pride expressed by the workers at their great safety record. I learned that they receive bonuses for suggestions regarding workplace safety, and they asked if I noticed any area where they might improve. Where does safety rank in your company’s list of priorities?
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