The National Safety Council of America says that occupational injuries in Georgia and across the country occur at a rate of one every seven seconds. Regardless of the industry in which you earn your income, these statistics will likely make you consider the steps your employer takes to create a safe work environment. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety standards and guidelines, not all employers comply.
Establishing a safe work environment starts with a hazard assessment. This requires employers to schedule frequent inspections to identify potential hazards, keeping in mind that new risks could be present in previously safe areas. The most common safety hazards are those that affect workers in all industries.
The following risks exist for workers whose jobs involve storage, transfer or use of chemicals:
- Paints, solvents, cleaning products and other hazardous liquids could harm your health.
- Dangerous gases and flammable chemicals pose particular hazards for health care workers, and threaten your safety if you work in the oil and gas industry.
The following electrical safety hazards threaten all, but if you are an electrician, line worker or engineer, you will be at the highest risk:
- Damaged or faulty equipment and tools can cause electrical shocks.
- Beware of misused electrical extension cords and exposed parts of electrical equipment.
- Overloaded circuits, poor wiring, improper grounding, wet conditions and damaged insulation all pose life-threatening risks.
Falls can be deadly regardless of the height, a fact that the death of a Georgia worker who died after falling from a ladder underscores. Fall protection is crucial, and it would be a good idea to keep the following in mind:
- Make sure you learn how to wear fall protection correctly.
- OSHA requires your employer to provide fall protection for jobs at specific heights, depending on the industry in which you work.
- Ladders and scaffolds pose significant fall risks in industries like roofing, construction, window installation and agriculture.
Exposure to extreme weather is one of the most significant physical risks, along with the following:
- Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, radiation, and manual labor in hot conditions can be deadly.
- Industries with higher risks include forestry, construction, fishing, postal service and the water sector.
- Any jobs that involve working on or around forklifts pose high injury risks.
- Other physical hazards include exposure to excessive noises, vibrations, slips, trips and falls.
Many of the typical workplace injuries occur because employers fail to comply with prescribed safety regulations.
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, you might be eligible for benefits through the Georgia workers’ compensation insurance program. An attorney with experience in this field can advocate for you. If your injury resulted from the gross negligence of another party, you might have grounds for a civil lawsuit, and legal counsel can determine the viability of such a claim.