In the United States, employers are responsible for the safety of their employees while at work. This includes providing a safe working environment and ensuring employees have the training and resources to do their jobs safely. The employer may be liable if an employee is injured while on the job.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. If the employee acted unsafely or disregarded safety rules, you may not be held responsible. Additionally, you may not be held liable if the injury was caused by a third party (such as a contractor).
Understanding workplace injuries
Workplace injuries can be sustained in any industry. They can result in anything from minor cuts to more severe trauma like broken bones or concussions. In some cases, workplace injuries can even be fatal. In 2019, 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers, as stated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
So, what does this mean for employers? First and foremost, it is crucial to understand that employers are responsible for their employees’ safety while at work. This includes providing a safe working environment and ensuring employees have the training and resources to do their jobs safely. The employer may be liable if an employee is injured while on the job.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. For instance, if an employee is injured due to negligence (e.g., not following safety protocol), then the employer may not be held liable. Additionally, if an employee is injured while engaging in horseplay or illegal activity, the employer may also not be held liable.
Leading causes of workplace injuries
Depending on the nature of your business, the causes of workplace injuries will vary. However, there are some common causes of workplace injuries that can occur in any industry, including:
Heavy lifting and poor office furniture
One of the most common problems of employees is back injuries. These injuries are usually caused by lifting heavy objects or objects too large to be lifted safely. To prevent these injuries, employers should invest in proper lifting equipment, such as dollies and hand trucks. Employees should also be trained to lift objects correctly so that they use their legs instead of their backs.
Back injuries can also occur due to the poor furniture in the office. If the chairs and desks in an office are not ergonomic, this can lead to back pain for employees. You can prevent this by investing in comfortable mesh office chairs that support the back. Employers should also encourage employees to take breaks and stretch their legs every 30 minutes to reduce the risk of back pain.
Slips, trips, and falls
Another common cause of workplace injuries is slips, trips, and falls. These accidents usually occur due to cluttered work areas, poor lighting, and slippery surfaces. To prevent these accidents, employers should ensure that all walkways are clear of any obstacles, that all areas are well-lit, and that floors are clean and dry. Employers should also provide employees with slip-resistant footwear to wear while on the job. Moreover, slips, trips, and falls can also occur due to the improper use of ladders. Employees who are not trained on how to use a ladder correctly may fall and injure themselves. To prevent this, employers should provide employees with ladder safety training.
Another common type of workplace injury is repetitive motion injury. These injuries are caused by performing the same task over and over again. Some examples of repetitive motion injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and the trigger finger. Employers should provide employees with ergonomic furniture and equipment to prevent these injuries. Employees should also be given periodic breaks to rest their muscles and avoid overexertion.
In addition, carpal tunnel syndrome is another condition commonly affecting office workers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is brought on by making the same motions with your hands and wrists over and again, like typing or using a mouse. To prevent this condition, employers should invest in ergonomic keyboards and mice and encourage employees to take breaks and stretch their hands and wrists every 20 minutes or so.
Employers are responsible for their employees’ safety while at work. This includes providing a safe working environment and ensuring that employees have the training and resources they need to do their jobs safely. If an employee is injured while on the job, the employer may be held liable. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Employers should familiarize themselves with these exceptions to ensure that they are not held liable for workplace injuries that are beyond their control.