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Safety violations that could be placing you at risk at work

At work, you are thinking about what you need to do, the tasks you must complete and the decisions you need to make. Depending on the nature of your job, you may not be thinking about all the ways you could possibly suffer an injury. No matter what you do, there are certain safety standards Ohio employers have to meet. Failure to keep employees as safe as reasonably possible could result in unnecessary accidents and injuries.

You have the right to a reasonable expectation of safety in your workplace. There are certain standards in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration designed to lower the chance of unnecessary incidents. Precaution and vigilance are two of the simplest ways to avoid accidents that could leave you and others with painful and debilitating injuries.

Despite fluctuations, on-the-job fatalities remain consistent

There are fluctuations in any statistics that you collect, whether you're looking at three years of data or 100 years. You can still see the big picture, though, which helps to determine if the statistics are trending in a positive or negative direction -- or if they're remaining neutral. With workplace fatalities, the truth is that they're staying fairly consistent, at least when looking at overall fatalities.

Keep in mind that this does not consider the number of workers in Ohio, so it's not a fatality rate, but just the raw data. In some cases, rates offer a better perspective on the true trend. If there was a surge in employment and workplace deaths stayed exactly the same, for instance, that would actually be a lower rate and indicate that the workplace was safer, even with the same amount of lives lost.

Which Ohio employers have workers' compensation coverage?

Workers often don't envision getting hurt on the job. Some professions are more dangerous than others, though. Many employees don't realize that state law mandates that employers carry workers' compensation coverage that they can use to pay for their medical bills and cover lost wages if they get hurt on the job. Most every employer in Ohio is required to purchase such insurance coverage.

Ohio law requires all employers with at least one employee on staff to carry workers' compensation insurance. There are some exceptions to this rule, though. Any company that employs domestic workers, including landscapers, babysitters or housekeepers who make under $160 per quarter is exempt from this rule.

An employer's responsibility regarding safety in the workplace

Are you as safe as you can reasonably expect to be in your Ohio workplace? Is your employer responsible for your safety when you are on the job? While your employer cannot control everything that happens, he or she is largely responsible for developing and maintaining a culture of safety where you work. This is important for your physical well-being, and it can greatly reduce the chance of an accident.

Workplace safety does not have to be a complex issue. With a few simple steps, it is possible to make any type of work environment safer. Every safety protocol and procedure can reduce the chance you will suffer unnecessary injuries or become ill as a result of environmental hazards. Not only should employers prioritize safety for the well-being of employees, but they should do so because it will reduce costs for them as well.

Non-impact injuries are still serious on the job

When you talk about workplace injuries, people often focus on impact-based injuries. They talk about falling from a ladder, for instance, or being struck by an object dropped from above. Road workers talk about being struck by passing cars or hit with heavy machinery.

These are all serious situations and very real dangers, but it's important not to forget that non-impact injuries can also be incredibly serious. They often happen because of bodily reactions and overexertion. For instance, these injuries can happen when someone is:

  • Throwing
  • Carrying
  • Holding
  • Turning
  • Pushing
  • Lifting

What can employers do to improve safety at work?

When an Ohio employee goes to work, he or she has the right to a reasonable expectation of safety in the workplace. It is the responsibility of each employer to provide tools and training to keep people safe, and it is also crucial to develop a culture of safety. Your boss should be working diligently to make sure you have everything you need to do your job well and without an increased risk of injury.

There are specific things employers can do that will develop a culture of safety, improve standards and reduce workplace accidents. However, accidents can still happen in even the safest of workplaces. In addition to your right to a safe place to work, you also have the right to seek workers' compensation benefits in the event of an on-the-job injury or sickness that develops because of your job.

How risky is it to work in the health care industry?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that health care workers are at the greatest risk for on-the-job injuries. This statistic stands in stark contrast to a long-held belief that construction workers were most vulnerable to workplace injuries. The reality is that those who work in hospitals and nursing homes have a higher injury rate than construction, logging or manufacturing workers.

Nursing home workers have the highest rate of injury. Those employed in the hospital, construction, logging and manufacturing sectors have the next highest injury rates.

How workers can use heavy machinery safely

Heavy machinery is often necessary on a job site, but it also increases the risk that workers face. It can be complicated, powerful and dangerous. One small mistake can have dire ramifications and may even prove fatal.

How can workers stay safe? There are a few things that companies need to focus on:

  • Inspecting all machines consistently to ensure that they work properly and that there are no defects.
  • Giving workers proper training in advance and ensuring that they can confidently, competently use heavy machinery before letting them do so on their own.
  • Creating a culture of safety so that workers know that it is important for them not to take risks.
  • Being willing to slow down if necessary; many accidents happen when workers are rushing, often because a boss pressures them to do so.
  • Remaining vigilant at all times. Workers should not get complacent around dangerous machines, even if they have been using them for years and they feel safe.
  • Prioritizing communication among all workers who are near a machine. Miscommunication can lead to mistakes when workers don't realize that someone else may be in danger.
  • Understanding the unique dangers presented by different machines. For instance, vehicles pose a risk when simply moving from one part of the site to another, while machines with moving parts are especially dangerous for those with long hair or loose clothing.

What does an employer do regarding workers' compensation?

One of the most important protections you have as an employee is the right to seek workers' compensation benefits in case of an on-the-job-injury or sickness. The law requires most employers to carry this type of insurance, which protects both the employer and worker. It provides you a way to get support when needed, and it protects the employer from a lawsuit after a workplace accident. 

Regardless of the type of job you have, it is in your interests to know your rights regarding workers' compensation. You will find it beneficial to understand how the claims process works, what to do after an accident and what to expect from your employer. In addition to simply carrying this insurance, there are other things an employer has to do regarding workers' compensation.

Important PTSD statistics

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition often found in combat veterans. However, almost anyone who has survived a traumatic event can suffer from PTSD. This could be a police officer who lost a fellow officer in the line of duty, a person who lived through a severe car accident that took someone else's life or a firefighter who could not save everyone from a burning building -- just to name a few examples.

No matter why it happens, PTSD can be disabling. It can lead to flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks and the inability to mentally and emotionally cope with situations that remind a person of the event that caused the trauma. A person who was in a car accident may not be able to drive, for instance. With that in mind, consider these statistics about PTSD in the United States:

  • It's more common in men than women, at a rate of 10% of the population, compared to 4% for men.
  • Overall, experts believe that about 7% to 8% of people will experience it.
  • Some cases only last for a month or so, but it can last much longer.
  • It does impact young people, as it has been found in 5% of adolescents.
  • Even in children, it happens less often with boys, at 2.3%, and more often with girls, at 8%.
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Philip J. Fulton Law OfficeRepresenting Victims Of Workplace Injuries And Disability

89 East Nationwide Boulevard
Suite 300
Columbus, OH 43215

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