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Safety Featured Resource New
Featured Resource:
7-Minute Safety Trainer

Stop worrying and procrastinating about OSHA safety meetings. Each session is effective and gets workers trained and back on the job quickly.

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Safety Additional New
Additional HR Resources

7-Minute Safety Trainer
Stop worrying and procrastinating about OSHA safety meetings. Each session is effective and gets workers trained and back on the job quickly.

22nd Advanced Employment Issues Symposium
Get ahead of workplace policy updates at AEIS. You'll get a comprehensive overview of breaking legislative changes, strategies to overcome compliance issues, and unmatched networking opportunities. You will leave with the tools you need to limit your company’s liability under federal law and drive future business success.

Live Webinars
Need credits? Check out upcoming free webinars on our partner site HR Daily Advisor.

Safety in the Workplace

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), companies are required to provide a safe workplace for their employees. Employees who are concerned about an unsafe condition may file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which will conduct an investigation and fine a company for any violations it finds.

HRHero White Paper: Combating Workplace Violence

Safety Interrupter New

Safety Audit Checklists is a comprehensive reference manual of reproducible checklists and audits you can use to ensure you facility is both safe to work in and compliant with OSHA's standards.

The OSH Act and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) both give employees the right to refuse to work in conditions they believe are unsafe. The employees must have a reasonable, good-faith belief that working would be unsafe, but the law protects them even if they’re honestly mistaken about the danger. The two laws have slightly different standards.

Basic Training for Supervisors – easy-to-read training guides, including safety and workers compensation

Protected concerted activity
For both union and nonunion employees, refusing to work because of safety concerns can be a concerted activity that’s protected by the NLRA. Concerted activity usually involves more than one employee, but it can consist of one employee acting on a matter that affects other workers.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) clearly would protect a refusal to work if conditions were actually unsafe or if employees had a “reasonable and honest belief” that the work presented a safety hazard. What if the employees’ concerted action was unreasonable? The NLRB has indicated that it would protect unreasonable actions as well.

HR Guide to Employment Law: A practical compliance reference manual covering 14 topics, including labor relations

Workers’ compensation
In general, employees who are injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation regardless of whether the injury resulted from an unsafe condition or whether anyone had reported that condition to the employer. If a company allows extremely unsafe conditions that injure or kill an employee, it may lose the protection of workers’ compensation law. Then the employee or her family could sue the company with no limit on damages.

Ergonomics is the science of designing equipment to maximize worker productivity by reducing operator discomfort and fatigue. The principle behind ergonomics is that by fitting the job to the worker, either by adjusting the workstation, rotating the job between workers, or using mechanical assistance, certain workplace injuries can be greatly reduced or even eliminated.

Musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 30 percent of illnesses and injuries with days away from work and employers are paying more than $15 billion a year in workers’ comp costs for those injuries and the costs associated with them.

State-by-State Comparison of 50 Employment Laws in 50 States, including safety and whistleblowing

Workplace violence
Employers may be liable for negligence if they fail to exercise ordinary care to avoid potential violence in the workplace. Violence by employees can create liability for negligent hiring, retention, supervision, or training if their conduct was reasonably foreseeable.

Employers and business property owners also face potential liability for failing to address an increased risk of violence from the outside, such as a threat of nighttime assaults or robberies in a high-crime area. Workers’ compensation laws cover some workplace injuries due to violence, but not all. The rules vary from state to state.

Uncover safety pitfalls. See where your workplace safety policies could trip you up!