How To Prevent Workplace Injuries
According to OSHA, every year more than 4.1 million people experience an injury or illness at their workplace, and 4,500 lose their lives. Injuries often occur due to overexertion, slips, trips, falls, and contact with equipment. Workplace injuries and illnesses result in employees taking off days meaning lower productivity, medical compensation, and the cost for other legal services. As an employer, it would be in their best interest to do everything they can to minimize the probability of workplace injuries. As an employee, doing your best to remain attentive to your tasks and ensuring that you are not overexerting yourself will ensure that you will not get hurt and suffer possible lifelong consequences. Thus, implementing injury and illness prevention programs within workplaces will overall benefit both the employer and employees.
IMPLEMENTING INJURY AND ILLNESS PREVENTION PROGRAMS
OSHA explains that injury and illness prevention programs involve a proactive process that assists employers in correcting possible hazards in the workplace, before they may cause an injury. These types of programs consist of certain elements that when all used accordingly can help ensure the overall success of the program. These elements include:
This element of the prevention program requires that those in management positions such as, business owners, managers, and supervisors provide the necessary leadership required to ensure the safety of their workers.
Their main duties include:
• Setting worker safety and health a core value within the workplace.
• Being committed to eliminating hazards, protecting workers, and always wanting to improve workplace safety.
• Providing enough resources to execute and maintain the Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
• Using effective communication to discuss the importance of their safety and health commitment to workers.
• Exemplifying expectations through their own actions.
In order for the safety and health program to be successful, it requires significant participation from the workers. It is in their best interest to succumb to the program as it is aimed at decreasing the chances of their injury, illness, or death occurring at the workplace.
In order to best participate workers should:
• Fully participate in the program and feel open to providing feedback, suggestions, and any new safety concerns.
• Be given easy access to any information necessary to effectively participate in the program.
• Have chances to be involved in the design of the program and implementation at all phases.
• Not feel pressure or be reprimanded when reporting a health hazard, injury, illnesses, participating in the program, or exercising their safety and health rights.
Hazard Identification and Assessment
One of the most important aspects of maintaining worker safety, is being able to recognize and identify anything that could be classified as a hazard.
Identifying and assessing hazards requires that employers and workers:
• Acquire information regarding any hazards present or likely to be present in the workplace, and review the information
• After conducting an initial inspection of the workplace to identify hazards, it’s important to establish a routine inspection to be aware of any new hazards that may have arisen.
• After every injury, illness, incident or close call is reported, they must investigate it to get to the root cause, underlying hazards, and any other shortcomings that may have led to the incident.
• Group incidents and identify trends within the injury, illness, and hazards report.
• Assess hazards corresponding with emergency and non-routine situations.
• Ascertain the severity and likelihood of different incidents that could occur due to each individual hazard identified. Then proceed to use this information to determine how to prioritize corrective actions.
Hazard Prevention and Control
As an employer it is their duty to effectively control and prevent hazards that could cause illness or injury to their employees.
In order to do this, employers should:
• Create effective communication with their employees who probably have a better understanding of the conditions in the workplace that could pose as potential hazards.
• Determine different options for the control of hazards by using a “hierarchy of controls”
• Plan the selection and implementation of controls using a hazard control plan.
• To ensure that workers are as protected as possible, create specific plans to be used in emergency or nonroutine situations.
• Continuously review the effectiveness of current controls to consistently make sure they are still providing as much protection as possible.
Education and Training
To ensure that all employers, managers, supervisors, and workers are aware of different plans in place and know how to act and respond accordingly to different hazards throughout the workplace, it is essential that they receive proper and thorough education and training.
Education and training provide everyone involved at the workplace with:
• Essential knowledge and skills that will allow them to do their job safely while avoiding hazards that could put themselves or others at risk.
• Awareness and understanding of any potential safety hazard in their workplace, and how to effectively report and control them.
• Specialized training, if their job involves distinctive hazards different than more common hazards.
Program Evaluation and Improvement
Evaluation of a new plan is important in order to make sure it is being implemented properly and effectively. An evaluation will make sure that the plan is working and achieving goals set, and if it is not, it gives supervisors and managers a chance to evaluate the program in place, figure out why it is not working, then implement changes to correct the ineffectiveness.
• Tracking the progress of the program through recording goals and targets.
• Completing an initial evaluation of the program, followed by checkups periodically to ensure that the program is continuously being the most effective it can be.
• Encouraging worker participation in evaluation and improvements of the program.
Dealing with a workplace injury is a struggle not only for the employee involved, but also the employer. In order to mitigate the many negative consequences of workplace injuries, implementing a safety and health program will make everyone feel more comfortable in their workplace. When creating a safety and health program it is essential to follow the above outline that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified as core elements in the creation of a safety and health program.
WHITESIDE & GOLDBERG, LTD.
If you’ve been injured on the job and your employer disputes your workers’ comp claim, you likely need legal help. Whiteside and Goldberg have over 50 years of experience in Chicago personal injury law. They know how to deal with tough cases in the greater Chicago area and have extensive knowledge of Illinois workers’ compensation law. In fact, one of their specialties is working with those injured on the job.
As an employee in Illinois, you are entitled to receive the best representation possible so that you can recover from your injuries without financial worry. Whiteside & Goldberg Law Group always offers a free consultation before you make the decision to proceed. You do not have to worry about paying anything upfront to work with an experienced attorney. You never make a payment until they win a settlement for you. For expert legal advice, call 312-334-6875 to speak to an attorney. Get the professional legal help that you need.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.