Employers are Required by Law to Keep the Workplace Safe
August 31, 2015
Small business owners have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their employees. This responsibility is crucial to the survival of the business and for optimal revenue. If the workplace is unsafe, employees may suffer injuries or be unable to complete their jobs optimally. For example, a workplace where the the lighting is inadequate may result in employees being unable to see clearly and injure themselves as a result. In addition to this, the poor lighting may make the employee take longer to complete the job. The employee may also suffer from eye strain that leads to eye damage and the need for stronger prescription lenses. This is just one of many examples of adverse workplace conditions that has multiple negative effects.
While employers should strive to provide a safe workplace to show appreciation for their employees' hard work, they should especially focus on workplace safety because the law mandates it. With the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are required to provide a workplace that is free of hazards that are likely to cause death or serious injuries to employees. There are several steps employers can take to make their workplaces safer and ensure that they are following the law. OSHA provided the tips below to help employers understand what the legal requirements are for workplace safety and what they can do to comply.
Find the OSHA rules that apply to a specific business. OSHA has a wide variety of regulations and legal verbiage available for free to business owners. There are different rules and regulations for various types of businesses. For example, the rules for a warehouse would differ from those for an office building because of the different equipment, hazards and environment. Contact OSHA to ask for business-specific regulations and solutions for compliance.
Learn about state-specific laws. There are many state-specific laws for workplace safety. Certain states also have their own OSHA-approved health and safety plans. To learn where to find the laws for specific types of businesses, discuss concerns with an agent.
Ask for an onsite consultation. Every state government provides this service. Government staff members visit the workplace and provide information and training.
Look for educational and training programs. Several guide programs and training templates are available from OSHA and other state-specific sources. Use them to develop customized company plans for a safer workplace and compliance. Employers can find these programs from other providers online as well as those from OSHA. It is important to make sure any plan is approved by OSHA or is compliant with OSHA's requirements.
Failing to comply with safety laws can cost businesses a great deal of time and money. There are fines associated with citations, and some businesses are shut down for serious violations. It is better to prevent employee injuries before they happen by ensuring compliance. To learn more about following health and safety laws for workplace environments and updating insurance policies, discuss concerns with an agent.