Do you believe that you’re truly safe at work? Whether you’re a doctor, construction worker, volunteer, or political organizer, you deserve a chance to do the job you were hired to do without the risk of injury lurking in the back of your mind.
Still, the fact remains that we live in a high-production society where business and industry looks to big-time production to serve their customers and make that all-important dollar. Though our economy relies on many of these products and services, businesses that demand rapid production, along with top efficiency, can sometimes be asking too much. Because of the need to succeed and impress their employers, many workers can end up injured.
Here we will discuss some of the most dangerous jobs and some new initiatives designed to lower the risks of injury at work.
Safety in Construction Work
Every year, construction jobs appear on the lists of the most dangerous careers in the world, leading to thousands of deaths on an annual basis. Whether the job involves roofing, steelwork, or grounds maintenance, it is essential that these hard-working people are protected so they can continue to build our nation’s infrastructure.
Industrial hygiene, for example, is one key factor in a healthy work environment. Keeping workers safe from air contaminants, chemical and biological threats, and physical hazards is extremely important. Other common causes of injury in these professions include falling from great heights, moving large objects, as well as injuries stemming from slips, trips, and falls. Specifically when working from heights, workers often do not have the mobility that they need to get their work done as easily as they should. To avoid such injuries, employers should have an active plan set up for all workers to avoid potential danger, including a solid escape route and keeping a lookout for additional hazards on the ground, as well as people who may get hit by falling debris. These contingency plans must be discussed before work begins.
A construction site can also have a lot of dangerous tools and materials lying around, so it is crucial that everything has its place and is maintained in a safe area to avoid injury via trips, falls, and exposure to toxic materials such as asbestos. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that any holes more than two inches wide are covered so workers cannot trip or slip through. Floors should also be kept clear of spilled fluids, and signage must be placed near slippery surfaces. It is also essential that workers lift heavy items properly by bending at the knees and not lifting anything that is beyond their capacity.
Protect our Medical Professionals
When we get hurt, we depend on health professionals to provide the care we need to get back on our feet, but we often forget about the safety of doctors and nurses themselves. As with all jobs, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a workplace free of hazards, as well as one where employees can work without unneeded stress. According to some studies, workplace stress is one of the leading causes of harm for nurses in the workplace.
Working in high-intensity medical establishments like emergency rooms will create stress for even the most tenured of nurses, so it is important to recognize when you are too upset to fulfill your duties correctly. To alleviate stress, individuals should take the time to relieve these feelings through exercise, deep breathing, meditation, and therapy. Employers also need to enforce a break policy, so every nurse gets the time they need to have a meal and catch their breath.
Whether in the case of medical professionals, construction workers, office employees, or any other profession, laws and policies must evolve with the changing times. Luckily, OSHA has recently released updated guidelines, which include new core elements such as hazard identification, prevention, and employee training. These updates create urgency for businesses of all forms to look at their policies and the wellbeing of all employees, including less represented groups like temporary employees.
It is a sad fact, but regardless of any new policies that come into effect, accidents can still happen. Luckily, all major companies are required to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy to protect their company, and the employee should they get injured on the job. This policy will provide adequate medical care or payment protection while the employee is out of work. All workers should know how to file a workers’ compensation claim, and all employers should have an open door policy where an employee can come forward with their injury and get proper assistance.
An employee should file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer immediately after any injury with careful notes about when and where it happened, along with the situation that led to the injury. The management team will document the incident and provide the employee with paperwork that they will also file with their insurer. The claim will be investigated then be approved or denied.
If the claim is denied, the employee may appeal the decision in hopes of getting a different verdict. If it is approved, the employee will be awarded benefits. In addition to medical care, benefits may include temporary or permanent disability payments depending on if the worker is able to return to work. If an employee were to die on the job, workers’ comp would pay benefits to the spouse or dependents, and burial costs may be covered. However, it is best to avoid all of these situations by maintaining a safe working environment.
Every day, people around the world wake up and go to work with the expectation that they will return home that night in the same condition they were when they left. Safety in the workplace is crucial to retaining a happy and healthy workforce, and your employees will thank you for it.