Workplace accident and injury prevention is the ultimate goal of any workplace safety and health management program. The problem is that many companies fail to implement a program, or if such a program is implemented, it is not enforced. Workplace safety-health programs can prevent serious work accidents and injuries, especially those which result in permanent injuries and accompanying disabilities.
Related firm case result: $101 million – The collapse of a parking garage at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey with over 30 construction workers injured on the job and 4 men killed (largest construction accident settlement in U.S. history). See more here.
Permanent injuries and disabilities are quite costly for both the employer (due to workers’ compensation) and for the injured worker. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration estimates nearly $200 billion in annual costs due to workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses.
An injured worker may only obtain a fraction of lost wages due to the state mandated limitations of workers’ compensation indemnity payments (wage loss payments). Therefore, even after receiving full workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker with a permanent disability will suffer serious financial strain. Learn more about obtaining full compensation in workplace accident injury cases in Pennsylvania.
Due to the potential for enormous financial strain caused by serious work accidents and injuries, safety-health management programs are crucial. There are many elements of a successful safety-health program:
- employee commitment and involvement,
- worksite analysis,
- training, and
- prevention/control measures.
For a discussion of the first two elements, click here for part 1 of this article about workplace safety and health management programs.
Employee training is very important, and includes training at all levels: supervisors, managers and workers. Proper training procedures must be implemented and must also comply with federal and state workplace accident safety regulations. OSHA regulations, for instance, apply to nearly every type of workplace. As an example, there are literally dozens of forklift accident prevention and safety regulations.
A proper training program takes into account the life cycle of the average worker, which includes initial training, periodic training and refresher training. Again, compliance with applicable regulations is necessary.
Companies must provide training on specific, safe work practices before employees begin working. In addition, the training program should identify instances where employees are given additional training and refresher training. For example, when a new work process is implemented or when an accident or near miss occurs, employees should receive additional/refresher training.
Workplace Hazard Prevention and Control Measures
Successful safety-health management programs will implement workplace hazard prevention and control measures. This involves identifying and eliminating workplace hazards, keeping employees informed of any dangerous conditions, and having a plan for emergencies. For instance, a chemical manufacturing company must have an emergency plan in place to deal with inadvertent spills, explosions, etc.
In addition, it is also important to record and analyze work accidents and injuries. This is one aspect of a sufficient safety-health program that most employers miss. Recording and analyzing work accidents and injuries provide a way to identify new hazards and trends in workplace accidents which are specific to the given company. This is especially important because no two workplaces are the same, even within the same industry. Companies will use specific processes and procedures and this means that workplace hazards will vary.
Rights of Injured Workers
Injured workers have legal rights to compensation via workers’ compensation claims and other claims, known as third party claims (tort or negligence claims). Third party claims must be investigated thoroughly by a qualified lawyer.
If you or a loved one was injured in a work accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please call our office at Click To Call. We are based in Philadelphia and have offices throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware.
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