Workplace accidents and injuries in Pennsylvania are an all-too-common occurrence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 50,000 work-related injuries and illnesses in the state in 2015. Using an approximate figure of 250 workdays, this equates to 200 per day. During the same year, the BLS indicates there were 173 workplace fatalities in the state.
Besides the pain and suffering that many workers experience, their injury or illness may cause them to miss work. The inability to earn a living can have serious financial implications. Employers can also feel the effects, as injury-related absenteeism can result in decreased productivity and the need to pay costly workers’ compensation claims.
How to Prevent Workplace Accidents and Injuries
Taking steps to minimize the risk of accidents benefits both employers and employees. While methods will vary depending on the setting, here are a few general workplace injury prevention tips that can create a safer environment for employees:
- Implement a “Safety First” Mindset: Just as being a defensive driver can prevent many auto accidents, remaining alert and aware on the job can minimize the risk of accidents. A “safety first” mindset can help workers and supervisors anticipate and prevent problems that could lead to accidents and injuries.
- Wear the Proper Protective Equipment: Many work environments require employees to wear protective equipment. This could include hard hats and earplugs at construction sites, goggles and gloves in laboratories that handle hazardous chemicals and harnesses for employees who work at heights. Employers are responsible for training their staff on the proper use of protective gear — and employees are responsible for following all applicable equipment safety guidelines.
- Reporting and Correcting Safety Issues: Employees should never assume their employer is aware of a potential safety hazard. All workers should immediately report anything that doesn’t look right, and employers should investigate and correct the issue as quickly as possible.
- Follow Instructions: Accidents often occur when workers don’t follow directions or attempt to take shortcuts to save time and effort. Stick to the steps outlined by your supervisor, and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or request additional training if you need it.
- Maintain a Neat Work Area: Slip-and-fall injuries occur frequently in many work environments. Keeping the work area dry and free of clutter can significantly reduce the risk of slipping and tripping. Always properly store tools, equipment and supplies when not in use.
- Create a Safety Team: Form a team of supervisors and employees who are responsible for monitoring specific areas of the workplace for potential safety hazards. Your safety team can also develop a response plan for situations that could result in injuries.
- Post Safety Signs or Rules: If you want to establish an accident-free work environment, posting signs that list safety rules or steps in the appropriate areas of your workplace can help you achieve your objective. Posted notices serve as constant reminders of the importance of safety at work.
Receiving Compensation in Pennsylvania for a Workplace Injury
The implementation of effective preventive measures may not eliminate the risk of a workplace accident. When you’ve been injured on the job, you could qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
If you work in Pennsylvania, My Comp Lawyers offers 24/7/365 access to a team of certified workers’ compensation experts who will protect your legal rights and help you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation today.