New Jersey has a workplace injury and illness incidence rate of 2.6 cases per 100 workers, with private industry employers reporting 74,400 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2018 alone, according to a report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace safety is a major concern for every business in New Jersey since it can lead to missed workdays, as well as injuries and illnesses that can affect employees’ lives for many years. However, there are still many employees who continue to work without knowing whether or not they are safe or what would happen if they were to suffer from a work-related injury or illness. This should not be the case: ensuring workplace safety is a shared responsibility, and employees have a key role to play.
Employees have a responsibility
Although employers have a much larger role to play when it comes to ensuring safety in the workplace, employees also must play their part, no matter how small it is. First of all, every employee must comply with the health and safety requirements, procedures and instructions given by a person with authority over him for his or any other person’s safety. The employee must also wear or use any protective clothing or equipment provided by the employer for protection against various health and safety risks in the workplace. It’s also important for the employee to pay closer attention to how he works, ensuring that any of his acts or omissions don’t affect his own health and safety or that of others.
Employees must speak up
A lot of employees continue to work in environments that they know are unsafe without doing anything about it. Some of them are afraid of taking up such issues with management due to the risk of losing their jobs, while others just don’t care. Rather than wait helplessly for an injury or illness to affect them or their coworkers, it’s vital for employees to have more say in the matter, since they are the ones who stand to lose the most if an incident were to happen. One way employees can do this is by reporting any situations that they believe would present a hazard to their supervisor or manager as soon as they see them. For example, any faulty wiring, leaks or signs of a mold infestation must be reported immediately by the employees who notice them first, since the employer may not be aware of the problem. If such reports fall on deaf ears, the employee can file a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) himself or through an attorney, labor organization, social worker, or nonprofit organization. While OSHA guarantees that the employee’s identity can be kept confidential, OSHA forbids employers from taking retaliatory action against any employees for filing a complaint. Once the complaint is filed, OSHA investigates the matter and discusses findings with the employer so that they can take the necessary steps to ensure workplace safety.
Employees deserve compensation
A lot of employees have no idea of what exactly is supposed to happen if they suffered from a work-related injury or illness. You always hear cases where an employee was fired after sustaining an injury or was just given a few days off, after which he returned to work as if nothing happened. What some employees don’t know is that they have legal rights and deserve to be compensated if they suffered from a work-related injury or illness, no matter how minor it may seem. The state of New Jersey requires all employers to provide worker’s compensation insurance to provide coverage to employees in the event of a no-fault workplace injury or illness. However, if the employee has reason to believe that the employer was responsible for the injury, he can seek justice by hiring a personal injury attorney to help him through the process. An experienced personal injury attorney helps prove fault in the incident as well as navigate the process in a way that ensures that the employee gets the maximum compensation he needs to get his life back on track.
Safety must always come first at the workplace, and everyone in the working environment has a role to play in ensuring that it’s a top priority. By following the above guidelines, employees can do their part in ensuring their own safety and that of the other people who are at their workplace.