On Wednesday January 16, Bloomberg BNA published an article that had some good news for workers. According to the article, some evidence indicates that more employers are placing a premium on worker safety when it comes to managing their workplaces. However, while there is reason to be optimistic, the article also indicated that a wide range of different tools and enforcement mechanisms continue to be necessary in order to protect workers.
Our Boston work injury attorneys were pleased that many companies are recognizing that the safety of workers comes first. We applaud ongoing efforts to make workplaces safer and we encourage all employers and regulators to continue doing everything possible to help prevent work injury.
Labor Department News on Worker Safety
The Bloomberg BNA article included quotes from David Michaels, the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the U.S. Labor Department. While Michaels acknowledged that it is difficult to identify overall changes, he also commented that he has noticed many employers now recognize the importance of managing for safety.
Managing for safety does more than simply prevent workplace injuries or workplace deaths. Placing a premium on worker safety can also help to make companies more profitable. Michaels believes that more companies are embracing this logic, and points to a specific meeting he had with oil and gas company executives in which one leader of a chemical company indicated that everything else follows when you manage for safety from the top down.
If indeed more and more companies are realizing this essential fact, then it could be good news for workers. While OSHA standards aim to protect employees across different sectors, employers still violate worker safety laws and workplace injuries and fatalities still occur as a result. Although not every accident can be prevented, the number of accidents can be greatly reduced if employers realize that the fate of the company is inevitably tied to creating and maintaining a safe workplace for human capital.
Enforcement Still Needed
While the Bloomberg BNA article contained some good news and painted an optimistic picture for workers, there was also an important reality recognized: while it may be becoming more popular to manage for safety, a large segment of American businesses still do not abide by the rules.
Michaels points out that there are many employers who continue to fall short of OSHA standards, in some cases because they are unaware of the standards or because they don’t believe that correcting a violation is a priority.
A number of tools are used to combat employers who fail to prioritize workplace safety and cooperate with all OSHA requirements. Some of the tools include press releases that publish citations, which are used as a deterrent to prevent other companies from breaking the rules. These and other enforcement efforts should continue to encourage employers to do the right thing. Workers harmed by an unsafe workplace should also make a workers’ comp claim against their employer to ensure they do not suffer undue hardship financially.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work accident in the Greater Boston area, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC for a free consultation. Call 1-877-617-5333.