It is the Legal Duty of U.S. Employers to Provide for their Employees a Safe and Healthy Work Environment

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Private and government employers in the U.S. are obliged to provide their employees with a safe and healthy work environment to significantly reduce, if not totally eliminate, occurrences of accidents in the workplace. This duty is based on the mandate of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a federal law that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1970. The Act requires the provision of a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, the conduction of training in the area of occupational health and safety, and the provision of vital information, research and education on the same area.

In 1971the Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSH Act gave birth to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is tasked to fully and strictly implement all the safety standards mandated by the Act, such as a workplace free from mechanical dangers, excessive level of noise, heat or cold stress, exposure to toxic chemicals, poisonous gases, radiation, unsanitary conditions, and other hazards.

The Hazard Communication Standard or HCS, is another mandate that OSHA enforces. This federal mandate, which was passed into law in 1980 and took effect in 1986, gives those exposed to hazardous chemicals in the work area the right to be informed about the type of danger they are exposed to and how they can protect themselves from such danger.

The HCS, also known as the Right-to-Know law or the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation, also requires manufacturers and importers of hazardous substances to attach Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and warning labels on all their products. Aside from indicating on the label that a product is poisonous or hazardous, there should also be information on the product’s safe storage suggestions, potential health effects, precaution for use, emergency first aid instructions, and contact numbers for further information.

Each type of work environment presents a unique set of safety risks; thus, employers should take full responsibility in implementing the necessary measures that will prevent accidents from occurring. Anticipation of potential problems through risk assessment, safety training, provision of the necessary protective equipment, installation of safety barriers and so forth, are just few of the precautions that ought to be observed inside work premises. While OSHA maintains that accidents can be avoided, this will only be possible if owners of firms and their managers observe government safety standards, and the employees follow company safety rules.

It is explained by the firm Hach Rose Law that “A considerable number of different factors can contribute to making a work site unsafe for workers. Some of the most common of these include the following:

  • Lack of appropriate safety equipment or protocols
  • Failure to properly train employees
  • Unsafe ground conditions
  • Employment of unqualified workers
  • Faulty or damaged equipment

Risk of injuries is always highest in construction (and other industrial) sites than in any other type of work environment. Due to this, it is the duty of those in charge of running construction sites and the property on which the construction is taking place to ensure that the site is safe for workers and that workers are provided with adequate safety equipment, otherwise, they may be held accountable in the event that a worker is harmed while performing his or her job.”

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