In recent data released from 2017, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recorded more than 5,000 workplace fatalities. Sadly, the majority of workplace injuries and deaths are avoidable. If you suspect your workplace is unsafe, you should first talk to your supervisor or manager if you feel comfortable doing so. You may file a formal OSHA complaint if your workplace has not remedied the situation in time.
Broadly, an unsafe working condition is defined as a condition that prevents you from fulfilling the day-to-day responsibilities of your job without a fear of danger. Though an unsafe condition can manifest in many different ways, there are four major categories they fall under:
- Ergonomic Hazards. This type of hazard can be considered latent, as the damage usually takes some time to present itself. Ergonomic hazards are the result of an improper physical arrangement required of a job’s duties. An example of this is manual labor that obligates you to exert a great amount of manual force to move a piece of equipment, such as a warehouse job that does not provide a forklift or other machinery. Any repetitive physical motion that leaves your muscles aching for days could be a sign of an ergonomic hazard in the workplace.
- Chemical Hazards. Some well-known examples of harmful substances used in some workplaces are lye, asbestos, certain pesticides, and acids. There are many more chemicals used across a wide variety of professions that present harm if not handled properly. If your workplace does not provide adequate ventilation or protective material when you deal with these items, there is a strong possibility you could be harmed by a workplace chemical hazard.
- Biological Hazards. The potential for this danger is significant for those working in the medical field. Bodily fluids such as blood and mucus are carriers of disease, and you should have adequate safeguards already in place. As a nurse, for example, your employer should always provide (at the very least) latex gloves when you are required to make contact with a patient.
- Safety Hazards. This type of hazard is usually the most apparent sign of an unsafe work environment. A safety hazard can be floors that are slippery or exposed wiring that poses an electrocution risk. Construction workers are especially prone to encounter safety hazards, as they often work with extremely heavy products at great heights. Unsecured scaffolding is a prime example of a safety hazard that can cause significant physical harm.
What if I’m Injured on the Job?
Beyond filing for workers’ compensation, it can be difficult to collect damages from your employer if your workplace causes serious illness or injury. You will need to prove your employer was willfully negligent to hold it liable for your ailment, among other standards. An experienced personal injury attorney can assess your situation and work to earn you the judgment you deserve. Call us at (410) 296-6485 to get us on your side.
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