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Common Hazards in the Workplace

Protecting Industrial Workers

After the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the number of workplace hazards have greatly reduced. When work-related threats are kept in check, employees are less likely to be involved in work-related accidents. The mix of OSHA, improvements for safety equipment, and the increased monitoring of workplace environments has led to much safer workplaces today when compared to a few decades ago.

Even so, more efforts need to be made to counter the hundreds of thousands of electrocutions, slip and fall accidents, chemical burns, and scaffolding accidents, as well as injuries sustained from falling objects, flying debris, and defective machinery that still occur every year. Many of these hazards result in serious workplace injuries yearly.

However, workplace safety is an ever-growing industry. One man or woman dying on the job due to unsafe work practices is one too many, but the reality is that there are hundreds of men and women who die and thousands more who are injured every year due to unsafe work environments. This is unacceptable, and it is dire that employees understand the potential work hazards that they face in their job enviroments.

What Are the Most Common Workplace Hazards?

Some of the most common hazards that industrial employees face include:

  • Defective Equipment: In some work environments, the general understanding for employees is that they “use a tool until it no longer works.” Although a boss may never say something that straightforward, what they do say is, “We don’t have money to replace (insert damaged tool here) and if it gets the job done, why replace it?” When an employer says this to an employee, they are communicating that the employee’s safety is not as important as the money that would be spent on replacing the tool. This can lead to wounds caused by defective equipment, which stretch far beyond the ones that can be fixed with a Band-Aid. Industrial accidents involving defective equipment often result in amputations, crushing injuries, and other severe trauma.
  • Falling Objects: Anytime a work environment is multi-leveled, workers who are underneath other employees are at risk from falling objects. These kinds of injuries are usually easy to prevent, but, at times, simplicity overrides safety. The extra time that it takes to secure a pile of bricks or to move an object in a perilous position may be deemed as “unnecessary work.” This can lead employees to make unsafe decisions because they were told by their employer that there was no time to worry about potential risks.
  • Flying Debris: The cause of an unbelievable amount of eye injuries each year, flying debris is an overlooked hazard due to the seemingly minor threat that tiny pieces of material pose. When taken on their own, a shard of glass, dust from cement or wood, and slivers of various materials may not seem like much of a hazard. However, when a worker uses tools and machines that can make these materials travel at high velocities, a wood shard can end up being an affective spear. Workers should always put on safety goggles before returning to their jobs, and if employers do not provide goggles or face masks for jobs that require them, the employer could be held accountable for any eye injury that occurs.
  • Toxic Exposure: Although OSHA outlines exposure limits for various chemicals in workplace settings, new hires are not always trained on these safety standards. There have been various law cases were workers were asked to dump or use chemicals in way that was entirely against OSHA’s standards for safe work practices. As a rule of thumb, if a worker does not understand the makeup of the chemical that they are using, they should not be using it until they receive clarification on safe-use practices. If employees choose to use the chemicals without proper handling knowledge, or if they are ill-informed of the risks that the chemical poses, they could end up with irritations, burns, or deadly diseases.
  • Unsafe Machinery: In reality, most any machine in a construction site or development plant could be used unsafely. When workers are cutting, pounding, and shaping raw materials, there are always inherent risks. However, proper safety training, up-to-date safety equipment, and correct usage of these machines will drastically minimize the inherent risks that these machines pose. Too often, machinists use the same machine each and every day while not fully understanding how the machine operates. If an employee understands what a machine does and is able to use to machine correctly, but does not understand how the machine works, this can arguably mean that the machinist is not properly trained. Understanding how a machine works helps employees understand what they need to look for when assessing the machine’s health. One loose screw, one broken setting, and one button is all it takes for a machine to break down and potentially hurt someone. Employers need to be held responsible to train employees in how a machine works so that employees stay safe.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured on the Job?

If you or a loved one was injured by a workplace hazard and you believe that it was preventable, contact our industrial injury attorneys immediately for a free consultation. Time is of the essence, as employers are sometimes informed by insurance agencies to get rid of incriminating evidence that caused work-related injuries. Our firm goes into work environments and assesses why someone got hurt so that we can find out who should be held responsible for the trauma our client received. We seek after the truth of who is at fault in work-related accidents.

If you would like to learn more about workplace hazards and how it can affect your claim, contact Arnold & Itkinfor a free consultation. You pay nothing unless you receive compensation for your claim!

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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