No employer wants to deal with workers’ compensation claims or lawsuits for unsafe working conditions. We live in a litigious society, and only by taking great pains to create an ideal working environment can you protect yourself against such issues. By doing everything you can to prevent workplace incidents and injuries, you are not only protecting yourself from legal claims, but you are also doing the right thing. Here are some tips to reduce the chances of employee lawsuit liability.
Direct and Designate Traffic
Keeping your workers where they need to be, when they need to be there is the first step in avoiding accidents. Anything you can do to make sure your workers are not accidentally in the way of a forklift or other piece of heavy equipment will benefit you in the long run. Clearly designate safety zones, areas of traffic and walking paths throughout your facility.
Clear Safety Procedures
Make sure you have clear and understandable safety procedures. Drill your staff on these policies and make sure that they not only follow them, but know why the rules are in place. Listen to staff concerns and address them decisively. The clearer your policies and the more open lines of communication you have, the safer your workplace will be.
Know Your Equipment
If you have equipment that is used both indoors and outdoors, make sure that it is setup properly. For example, vehicles like forklifts need different tires for indoor and outdoor use. You may have machinery that has to be calibrated for the environment in which it is run.
The Right Equipment for the Right Job
Never try to use equipment for purposes it was not intended to achieve. Using a steam shovel to lift a worker off the floor so he can affect repairs on high is not an ideal situation. While this may seem an extreme example, there have been cases where similar situations have resulted in injury.
If a scaffold is the right equipment for a job, use a scaffold. You may save money by using what is on hand, but it will not be worth the expense of a lawsuit later on.
The Right Gear for the Right Environment
Make sure that your people have the gear they need. If your workers will be outside in the cold, be sure they have the right clothing to avoid hypothermia and frostbite. If there is the possibility for exposure to biohazards, use properly sealed bio-suits. If there is a danger of falling debris, hard hats are a must.
If you provide something as small as the right gloves or boots, this can make all the difference in an emergency situation. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is vital to preventing lawsuits.
Do Not Skimp
Using the right equipment and gear may seem an expensive option. However, using the right tools for the right job is tried and true practice. By spending some more up front and ensuring you have all the right safety procedures in place, you can prevent a lot more expense from accidents, injury and lawsuits.
What are your thoughts about reducing employee lawsuit liability? Leave a comment below and let us know!