OSHA, the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, sets standards for workplace safety.
The agency believes that a strong safety culture is essential in preventing incidents of all kinds, from cyber attacks to broken bones. Could a better safety culture have prevented your workplace injury?
The safety culture
In addition to company policies and procedures, a safety culture includes shared beliefs, attitudes and practices. OSHA believes everyone in the organization should share responsibility for maintaining a safe environment. While this includes temporary and hourly workers and the employees at every other level, the success of the safety culture must rest with top management. If company leaders are not on board, matters involved with employee safety and health may become lost in the daily effort to increase business production and profitability.
Major OSHA violations
In 2019, OSHA officials cited companies nationwide for failing to implement proper safety practices and, depending on the severity of the issues, imposed fines in the millions of dollars. For example, worksite falls continue as the main cause of fatalities among workers in the construction industry. However, OSHA inspectors found a variety of safety violations in many industries, from the unsafe stacking of boxes that blocked exits to the presence of atmospheric hazards. Inspectors frequently found that employers had not provided workers with appropriate health and safety programs nor with suitable fall protection training.
About workers’ compensation
Employers have a duty to carry workers’ compensation insurance so that any employee who sustains a work-related illness or injury has access to benefits that will cover his or her medical expenses and lost wages. Even small businesses should institute the kind of safety culture that OSHA recommends. Workplace hazards and dangerous conditions can result in serious, even life-changing injuries. If your employer had led the way to shared responsibility for safety in the workplace, the injury you suffered might never have occurred.