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Employment and Job Safety

A 55-year old employee parked her car a few feet from the company’s front door.  Hurrying through the security gates so as not to be late, she didn’t see the block of ice ahead.  She slipped and hurt her lower back.  She also broke her right hip.  She was in such excruciating pain when the ambulance took her to the hospital that she had to be carried on a stretcher.  She underwent six months of rehabilitation and psychological counselling.

What does job safety mean?

Workplace safety not only means safety inside the building, but also outside the building.  Management’s neglect as mirrored in the case of the 55-year old employee translated into a significant loss of man hours and workers’ compensation payments.

The law requires that a company should consistently review their safety and security procedures for their employees’ safety and well-being.

What are the possible causes of job-related injury?

The kinds of risks conducive to accidents include:

Toxic substances – dust in buildings, faulty ventilation systems, and particularly in factory or plant environments where chemicals and other hazardous materials are processed;

Physical barriers – lack of maintenance in common areas like the       parking lot, structural deficiencies, dirty washrooms, un-cleared walkways;

Ergonomic – badly designed workstations or machinery/facilities inappropriate to employees’ physical make-up.

 What can management do to promote workplace safety?

States require companies to regularly inspects their premises for potential risks to employee safety.  Companies must consult with employees on how to make their work stations safer.  Adequate communication between management and employees is key; one concrete example is to issue regular announcements on safety (citing the government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines and standards for worker safety).

What if an accident happens?

It is management’s duty to assign a responsible person to investigate the accident site, why and how it happened, and to gather accounts from employees who witnessed the accident.  A written report must be drawn up that should include recommendations on ways to avoid the accident from happening again.

Be vigilant.  Don’t wait for the next accident to happen.