Unsafe working conditions are fairly common. There will always be jobs that are way riskier than others. What makes them worth doing is the pay and protection given to the workers. If you are an employee working in a dangerous environment, here are ways you can protect yourself.
1. Know your employers safety measures
Employers are legally required to ensure that you are safe from accidents, injuries, and illnesses. This means that they should provide you with the means and equipment to do your job safely. It depends on what your job is. For example, if you work in construction, you may be provided a helmet and a safety harness. If you’re a nurse, you’ll be provided personal protective equipment. Your employer should discuss these with you before you start your job. They might also tell you what coverage they provide in case you get injured or into an accident.
2. Ask about hazard pay and worker’s compensation
If you have a risky job, you may be given a hazard pay which is an additional compensation for doing work that’s hazardous. This may already be included in your salary package. In addition, there should also be worker’s compensation. In case you get injured, your employer is responsible for paying for your medical fees and covering the salary lost due to the accident.
3. Report safety hazards
If you spot a safety hazard but find that there is no measure to protect workers against it, you should bring it up with your employer. They have a responsibility to address the problem and ensure that employees don’t get an injury when performing such a job.
4. Refuse work
As a worker, you have the right to refuse work if you deem it dangerous to perform your job. You have to be clear and confident with your refusal. If you are certain there is a lack of safety in your job, you should communicate it with your employer. You don’t want to be arrogant but you cannot appear weak or indecisive either. When they see that you are serious, they’ll be more receptive to your feedback and immediately act on it.
5. File a report
After you’ve done all the steps above and your employer still does not fix the issue, you can report it to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The purpose of OSHA is to protect workers from unsafe working conditions. They keep employers in check by regularly doing on-site inspections. They review the operations, test equipment, and point out violations that need to be corrected immediately.
6. Report hospitalization right away
It can be difficult to do this since you don’t want to be on your employer’s bad side. However, you must remember that this should be done in order to improve worker safety conditions. It’s better to be safe today than deal with a debilitating condition from a work injury later on.
You do not have to worry about losing your job since OSHA prohibits any retaliation from the employer. If you did the right thing and report unsafe working conditions, the employer cannot demote or fire you. They also cannot reduce your pay simply because you filed a complaint.
6. Have legal counsel
It’s always good to have a lawyer you can readily call in case you need legal counsel. They will tell you about your rights as a worker and guide you with the steps you can take to ensure that you are compensated correctly. A lawyer can also be helpful in case you need to take legal action against an employer. They will advise you whether it’s better to sue or negotiate with your employer.
By taking the steps to protect yourself above, you will not only be safe at work, you’ll also feel better knowing that you are looking after your coworkers. It takes some courage to stand up for yourself but it’s worth everyone’s safety and well-being.
Which of these tips did you find the most useful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
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