Today’s post comes from guest author Todd Bennett, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
Under federal law, every employee has the right to a safe workplace. If you believe your workplace is dangerous and changes in safety policy are ignored, you can request an inspection from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
Workers’ compensation, which is regulated on a state-by-state level, covers medical bills, lost wages, disability and vocational rehabilitation services for employees injured on the job. If you have any questions regarding these benefits, please contact an experienced lawyer in your area.
If you believe you work in an unsafe work area, here are some tips to be aware of to make sure your workplace is as safe as possible, and you protect yourself from significant injury:
- Know the hazards in your workplace.
- While in a seated position, keep your shoulders in line with your hips. Use good form when lifting.
- Injuries occur when workers get tired. Take breaks when you’re tired.
- Do not skip safety procedures just because it makes the job easier or quicker. Using dangerous machinery is the one of the leading causes of work injuries.
- Be aware of where emergency shutoff switches are located.
- Report unsafe work areas.
- Wear proper safety equipment.
If you are injured due to an unsafe workplace, and you are unsure of the benefits that you are entitled to, contact an experienced attorney in your area.
Wal-Mart’s low prices have led to unsafe working conditions.
Today’s post comes from guest author Tom Domer from The Domer Law Firm.
The recent Bangladesh factory fire killed over 100 workers. The factor produced goods for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart now concedes it “needs to do more to control its supply chain.”
Wal-Mart’s Vice President of “Ethical Sourcing” (irony noted here) said the company control could “only go so far” in preventing an unauthorized factory producing its goods. Wal-Mart said its Faded Glory clothing should not have been produced in the factory, which Bangladesh officials said was not safe.
Wal-Mart’s “factory certification” program focused on Bangladesh and China was allegedly “dedicated to improving the status of foreign labor.” Tell that to the families of the workers who died.
At a meeting last year where Wal-Mart’s Vice President of Ethical Sourcing was in attendance, the Bangladeshi Garment Workers Union proposed that producers such as Wal-Mart help ensure prices are high enough to provide for safety measures for their workers.
Wal-Mart’s Vice President indicated Wal-Mart could not support such a program because of the high cost. Consider that next time you buy a cheap shirt at Wal-Mart.
Today’s post comes from guest author Leonard Jernigan from The Jernigan Law Firm.
On January 13, the North Carolina Department of Labor announced that 53 people died on the job in North Carolina in 2011. Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry was quoted as saying: “the real tragedy is that all of the these fatalities could have been avoided.” I wholeheartedly agree. 53 deaths is 53 too many. When I see news stories about explosions and other tragic events that needlessly harm or kill workers, often spewing toxic chemicals into the surrounding environment harming entire communities, I can’t help but think about how it all could be avoided if companies embraced a culture that puts safety first and simply followed the proper guidelines and procedures. I see companies spend a lot of time and money to fight the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) over fines and penalties but rarely see the same effort being put into protecting their workers in the first place.
Employers, I challenge you to make safety as much of a priority as profits. Stop wasting time and money fighting against worker safety and instead focus your efforts on saving lives.
It may be hard to believe given my chosen profession as a workers’ compensation lawyer but if I had my way, workers’ compensation lawyers like me would be obsolete. We’d go the way of horse-drawn carriages and 8-tracks. We exist because many companies treat worker safety as an afterthought. The workers’ compensation system provides employers with immunity from lawsuits for most on the job injuries — they are required to buy workers’ compensation insurance, so why bother spending more to protect workers if they get no return on that money spent? Continue reading