By Glenn A. Duhl, Esq. & Jillian R. Orticelli, Esq.
Workplace safety is everyone’s concern and everyone’s responsibility. For management, establishing and maintaining safe workplace conditions and practices is, by necessity, a top priority. An injury on the job reduces everyone’s productivity. It results in a well-oiled machine being required to run on less than all cylinders, loss of team morale and a loss of profits at the top. We all stand to benefit when effective safety practices are established and maintained.
Report It: From loose doormats to slippery floors in restrooms, best practices dictate that if you see a potentially unsafe condition in the workplace, you should report it. If an unsafe condition is reported to you, document it. Email or record the report in writing and deliver it to someone who can investigate and ensure that necessary action is taken.
The Safety Committee: Have a meaningful Safety Committee. Safety Committee representatives should examine the property on a regular basis, make and record observations, and recommend and initiate necessary repairs and improvements. Keep a record of these activities.
Safety Training: Creation and maintenance of a “safe workplace” does not end with building maintenance—personnel are an integral part of any effective safety program. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link; likewise, workplace safety depends upon each employee understanding and following safety rules and regulations. Every employee should understand his obligation to report unsafe conditions and to conduct his or her work in a manner that complies with all employer rules, safety regulations and applicable law. Publish safety rules and regulations to all employees. Institute safety training procedures for employees, and offer refresher courses as needed. Establish a system of monitoring and accountability for safety violations.
Protecting Your Business: Institution of and adherence to effective safety practices protects your employees and your business. The goal is to prevent workplace injury; a safe work environment will lower instances of injury and associated costs. It also increases customer satisfaction and employee security and pride in the job. Ensure that you have proper insurance coverage for employees, associates and, where necessary, members of the public that frequent your place of business. In a place frequented by employees, maintain postings required by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), state Workers’ Compensation Commissions (Connecticut, New York), and the Department of Labor. If an injury does occur, immediately prepare appropriate reports internally (as required by your workplace safety rules and regulations) and externally (as required by the property owner, your insurance carrier[s], state Workers’ Compensation Commissions and other applicable law).
Glenn A. Duhl and Jillian R. Orticelli are management-side employment and litigation lawyers at Siegel, O’Connor, O’Donnell & Beck, P.C. Please visit www.siegeloconnor.com for more information.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered and should not be construed as legal advice.