(US employment law and generally) An employer has certain responsibilities to their employees when they are on the job. These are rules and regulations that have been hard fought throughout the historical labor movements of the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries. Today employers are held to very stringent standards of conduct in order to ensure that the people working for them have a safe and healthy environment in which to perform their tasks. Naturally there are always exceptions to the rules, as in jobs that are hazardous by nature, to which the employer is required to inform and train the employee on how to mitigate the risks as much as possible. Although it may not be possible to eliminate all risks, through training and keeping employees informed, risks can be greatly reduced.
Employers are responsible for their employees from the minute the employee clocks in to the minute that employee clocks out again. Often they are also responsible for the employee’s safety until the employee is no longer on the property of the employer. Most employee safety laws seem common sense today, however when initially proposed it was revolutionary. Employees have not always been considered valuable members of the company, but as a commodity that was only worth as much as it produced. If someone was injured on the job the employee lost his value and was easily replaced. With laws now specifically designed to shift responsibility to the employer many companies are not 100% sure exactly what areas they are accountable for. Some of the most common areas of employer responsibility include the following: Some of the areas that an employer is responsible for:
Training: Employees are required to provide proper job specific safety training for each employee. This is even more important when the jobs performed by employees involve any form of hazardous exposure. The employee must understand what the risks of the job are, how to take appropriate security measures to protect themselves, what the security standards are, and what to do in the event of an accident.
Accident Preparedness: All employers must have an accident preparedness plan in place so that they can deal with any kind of emergency that may occur in a quick and efficient manner. This must be in place to help reduce the possibility or probability of injury or death. All employees must be aware of the accident preparedness plan and know what procedures are required. Some items that should be included in this plan are points of contact, areas to gather in the event of an incident, and proper risk mitigating steps to follow. All of these allow the company to have a systematic response to any accident or incident and deal with it in a manner that incurs the least amount of damage, loss of workers, time, and money.
First Aid: When someone is injured on the job, being able to provide life saving first aid while awaiting the arrival of professional help is critical. Companies must have a first aid kit and a first aid trained member available to its employees. This should be done by selecting individuals who will be specifically trained to administer first aid. Everyone must know who these individuals are and how to access them, besides knowing the location of the first aid kits and other vital life saving apparatus.
Labor and Industries: Protected by law, employees who have been injured have the right to access the Department of Labor and Industries. It is up to the company to ensure that information pertaining to the contact of L&I is posted in a place where the employees have easy access to view it and can make the call whenever they need. Employees, under no circumstances, are allowed to prevent an employee from reaching out to L&I in the event of an injury.
Often time employers do not follow simple precautionary measures that could prevent an employee from being seriously injured. This can result in a worker finding themselves with major medical bills, unemployed, and often suffering traumatic injuries. When companies fail to take the steps needed to protect their employees they are liable for any injuries sustained by their workers.
Andrew Miller is an avid legal blogger and manager of over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of David Resnick & Associates : A personal injury lawyer located in New York City