How Business Owners Can Protect Themselves From Injury Liability in the Work Place
In the state of California, particularly the Los Angeles County area, an experienced team of Los Angeles workplace injury lawyers can be kept busy dealing with personal injury claims that go over and above that of workers compensation. In these tough economic times where every cent counts, some businesses try to cut corners in order to stay afloat and in many cases this can have a direct impact on health and safety. This is clearly counterproductive as it will end up costing business owners serious amounts of money should an accident take place. So with this in mind, how can business owners make sure that their workers are protected? A Los Angeles injury lawyer explains.
Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are very common, and are in fact the second largest cause of work related injuries after repetitive movement. Therefore in order to prevent an accident from happening it is imperative that managers know what’s going on around them. One way to do this is through daily floor walks. Simply by walking around the premises, a manager or business owner can see whether there are any potential hazards that may be an accident waiting to happen. Also by documenting daily floor walks, you have records in place should an unfortunate incident occur.
Best working practices
It is always a very good idea to get employees on board when it comes to health and safety. Many accidents are not without fault from the injured party, so by getting everybody to be safety conscious, it will go a long way in preventing accidents. Also these are the people who work at ground level so they will be able to spot and safety and health infringements long before you do.
Regular equipment checks
A Los Angeles injury attorney will tell you that one of the main causes of work related injuries is down to faulty equipment or defective products. Regular checks of equipment that are in used throughout the workplace is vital. If ladders are used, then make sure that they are in good working order. The same goes for escalators, or any lifting equipment. Also make sure that any specialist equipment that operates safety features are also fully functioning. For example, guard rails on cutting equipment, or emergency cut out switches. Finally if you are dealing with hazardous materials, it is advisable that all safety gear such as aprons, gloves, goggles and breathing apparatus are also fully functioning.
Seek advice from the OSHA
In general, the occupational safety and health administration are there to make sure that businesses conform to high standards of health and safety. They are seen by many employers as law enforcers and in some cases a bit of an inconvenience. However they can also be utilised to help your business and are more than happy to offer guidelines. In fact on their website they offer a free consultation service plus a plethora of advice on how to protect small businesses from work related injuries. In a free consultation service, the OSHA consultant will walk through everything with you as it relates to ‘your’ business. This is not an inspection and is indeed confidential. No citations or penalties will be imposed and the only requirement is that as a responsible business owner you correct any serious health and safety issues that the OSHA inspector finds in a timely manner.
By having a good safety and health management system in place, it makes really great ‘business sense’ as well as ‘financial’ sense. The cost of the bottom line will be lowered through decreasing workers comp costs, reducing days lost through illness, reducing product loss and equipment damage and finally lowering or stamping out injury rates.
As you can see, there are ways that as a business owner you can drastically reduce workplace injury compensation claims. Simply by following some or all of the above steps you will find that you can make a difference. If in the meantime you need to seek any advice regarding injury claims, then a team of experienced workplace injury lawyers are on hand to help.
How Ergonomics Helps Reduce Liability
An experienced workplace injury attorney Los Angeles can spend a lot of their time advising and dealing with claims involving repetitive movement injury. Otherwise known as repetitive strain injury (RSI), this type of work related injury makes up for around 60% of all work related accidents. It costs companies millions of dollars each and every year in reduced productivity and temporary replacements and is sadly on the increase. In many instances the addition of ergonomic furniture and work stations can decrease repetitive movement injuries by as much as 70% and some companies saw workers compensation claims drop by as much as 89%.
What is repetitive movement Injury?
In essence a repetitive movement injury is a tiny tear to the muscle fibers or connective tissue of a joint and is caused when a person (usually at work) is repeatedly going through the same motions. This may be through constantly typing away on a keyboard, or on an assembly line, where a person is constantly bending, or in a warehouse, where they are lifting. Examples of repetitive movement injury are neck and back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendinitis and occur in joints such as the toes, fingers, wrists, arms, shoulders and lower back. If left untreated, they can result in partial or full loss of the joint. So how can an ergonomic environment help? A workplace injury attorney explains.
How can an ergonomically designed workplace help?
An ergonomically designed work area matches employees’ physical capabilities and their work responsibilities through a superior design of tools, workstations and equipment. By cutting down on work related injuries, ergonomics directly helps the business bottom line by reducing work related injury claims.
Setting up an Ergonomic workspace?
One of the first things that should be done is to identify which areas of your workplace are most at risk from RSI’s and deal with that area firstly. In the case of an office, look at computer monitor and keyboard placement. Chairs, desks and seating positions also need to be looked at. One of the most important aspects of an ergonomically designed space is to look at the area holistically, and not just the equipment.
A balance of incandescent and fluorescent lighting works best. This will reduce the glare and reflections from computer screens. Windows should also have adjustable shades so that brightness can be controlled if needs be. Constant headaches through staring into bright screens can be a real problem which may lead to more serious issues in which a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer may have to get involved with
Noise shouldn’t interfere with concentration or communication therefore any equipment such as scanners, photocopiers and printers should be moved directly away from work spaces wherever possible. If this is not possible then a noise protective cover should be sought.
Humidity and temperature
Electrical equipment can make the air dry and static build up around a monitor can attract dust, both of which can dry out the throat and irritate the eyes and nose. A comfortable working temperature should be between 68 and 74 degrees. Also plants are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they will also help to balance the humidity levels.
Ergonomic best practices
To avoid the costly business of workers compensation claims a RC injury attorney explains that it is imperative all employees are trained in the benefits of ergonomics. By bringing then on board, they can help themselves to reduce injury. Simple facts such as changing positions every 15 minutes and stepping away from their work station every 30 minutes can do a great deal in alleviating problems.
Ergonomics is something that should not be taken likely and recent studies by the OSHA have shown some outstanding results. As well as drastically reducing workers compensation claims, an ergonomically designed office can also improve productivity and it can have an effect on the reduction in errors. Most importantly employees will consider it to be a happier place to work.
From the point of view of a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer businesses could be doing a lot more to protect their workers from injury and an ergonomic workplace goes a long way in doing this.