Throughout the year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains a database of all reported workplace safety violations across the country. These violations occur not just at manufacturing plants or construction sites but at all places of employment that are required to offer Workers’ Compensation benefits to their employees.
OSHA most recently compiled and named the top 10 hazards and safety issues of 2021. Even if you work in an office setting, you will want to take measures to avoid these common on-the-job risks that regularly leave workers unable to perform their duties temporarily or, in some cases, permanently.
Failing to Provide Protection Against Falls
Falling is an occupational hazard in many fields, such as roofing and home building. OSHA noted that more than 5,000 fall-related violations occurred in 2021. Often, these violations noted a lack of protective guards, railings, or similar features around work areas where falling was a known risk.
Failing to Provide Scaffolding Support
Scaffolds are routinely used both outside and inside by workers in a variety of jobs. If scaffolding is not properly grounded, it can become unstable and lead to worker injuries. In 2021, OSHA received reports of 1943 scaffolding problems.
Failing to Control Safety and Access to Hazardous Energy Materials
Workers who routinely deal with hazardous or possibly toxic materials from chemicals to plastics require training and security protocols to avoid getting hurt. When the proper procedures are not emphasized or given, workers’ risk of injury naturally increases.
Failure to Provide Adequate Respiratory Protection
Inhaling airborne substances such as paint droplets can irritate and harm employees’ lungs. Employers are expected to protect their workers against the possibility of respiratory distress caused by airborne agents.
Failure to Improperly Use Ladders
Like scaffolds, ladders are invaluable tools for many workers. However, ladders that are broken, inadequate, or incorrectly placed can become hazards. Employers are expected to provide the right type of ladders as well as the training to use those ladders successfully and safely.
Failure to Provide Training Regarding Falls
Workers cannot be expected to train themselves on how best to mitigate falls. Instead, this responsibility falls to employers. In 2021, more than 1,500 employers failed to upskill, reskill, and certify workers on fall-related training procedures.
Failure to Keep a Written Record of Hazards
Companies should keep records of employee injuries and near-misses. That way, leaders can track and evaluate the safety of their workplaces and worksites. OHSA issued almost 2,000 citations in 2021 against businesses that violated this expectation.
Failure to Provide Eye and Face PPE
Workers should receive and know how to use face and eye personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and goggles. When they do not have the right PPE, they are more likely to be injured by flying objects, splattering liquids, or air-based toxins, irritants, or pollutants.
Failure to Set up Machine Guarding Standards
Machines can be a huge asset to workers. Yet large equipment can be dangerous if guards are not put into place. Guards help provide barriers between workers and moving parts, such as rotating or sharp pieces.
Failure to Manage On-the-Job Vehicles Safely
Employees tend to use countless types of small and large vehicles. These can include forklifts and big rigs. Employers must offer continuous training to workers, as well as maintenance of all equipment.
What to Do in Case of a Workplace Injury
If you experience an injury at work because of one of the aforementioned top workplace safety issues or a different issue, you have the right to apply for Workers’ Compensation. Time matters, though. Within three weeks, you should tell your employer about your injury. Waiting longer than 120 days makes it impossible for you to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
After speaking with your employer, you must file a workers’ compensation claim to start the process. If your claim is denied, you can appeal it. Some employees in this situation feel more comfortable speaking with a local workers’ compensation lawyer first.
Above all else, remember that workers’ compensation is a right. If you need medical treatment because of a workplace injury, you deserve to pursue a workers’ compensation claim right away.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyer From Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC Can Advise on the Merits of Workplace Injury Claim Denials
Was your workers’ compensation claim denied? Speak with any of our skilled West Chester workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC. Call us at (610) 594-1600 or submit a form online. From our office in Exton, we serve Pennsylvania workers including those in West Chester, Exton, Chester Springs, Parkesburg, Lancaster County, Malvern, Coatesville, Downingtown, Phoenixville, Wagontown, Reading, Lyndell, Morgantown, and Uwchlan Township.