Imagine if car manufacturing plants were still using a risk assessment Henry Ford wrote over a century ago. Workplace safety is not something an employer can do once, then forget. Workplaces and the techniques and technology within them are constantly developing.
As technology and conditions change, so do the injuries and illnesses that can affect workers and the awareness of those issues. For example, not so long ago, no one would have dreamed people would suffer repetitive strain injuries from typing at a computer.
Safety procedures need to adapt constantly
Employers need to ensure their safety procedures are current. They need to react to new information from researchers and what they see in their workplaces. Here are some ways companies can help keep their workers safe:
- Carry out regular reviews: Once a company puts a safety policy in place, they need to see if it works. For example, if they introduce a measure to reduce hand injuries, they need to check every few months to see if it has made a difference. Checking accident and near-miss reports can also highlight issues that require attention.
- Provide ongoing training: Bosses need to allocate time and resources to ensure all their employees are up to date.
- Provide adequate protective equipment: Let’s say you start a new job cutting trees. Your employer says they have run out of protective Kevlar pants but will have them for you next week. If that is the case, they should not expect you to use a chainsaw until you have them and are fully protected.
- Check the condition of existing safety equipment: While your employer might have put a handguard on a machine in January, it is irrelevant if the guard fell off two months ago and you cut your hand yesterday.
If you are injured because your employer did not prioritize keeping safety up to date, you will need help to ensure you receive full workers’ compensation benefits. You should not suffer for your employer’s failings.