The existing regulations and standards on workplace safety posits that it is the onus of the employer to ensure safety measures are put in place to safeguard the welfare of all employees and other stakeholders. A perusal through the newspapers reveals how daily there are reports of workplace accidents emanating from sheer negligence on the side of the employer. This usually comes at a huge cost to the organization. Tens of billions of money are estimated lost through these accidents; in terms of lost hours, compensations and lost productivity. The need to enforce safety standards cannot be understated.
Who bears responsibility?
Under the common law the employer has a direct and incontestable role to provide the employees with a safe place to work in. The environment, the tools and equipments used should be appropriate for the work and activities being carried out and they should all be geared towards ensuring workplace safety. Any hitches that results to work related injuries are held to be the responsibility of the employer and any compensation needs arising are settled to the disfavor of the employer.
Safety standards and measures
Employers are required by law to adequately inform the employees on the various hazards lurking in the workplace. All the dangers exposed to the employees have to be clearly outlined to ensure they take all the adequate measures at their disposal to protect themselves. The regulations on workplace safety insist on the use of labels and warning signs to highlight hazard zones. For instance any hazardous materials within the organization should be clearly labeled and the content highlighted. The lack of use of these signs can land employers into problems in terms of fines and harsh judgments in case of any accidents. Employers hence have an obligation to comply with these stipulations so as not just to avoid the fines and penalties but also to minimize accidents and guarantee the safety of all employees.
Involving the employees
The employees are major stakeholders in the safety of the workplace and every strategy applied to enforce this must take into consideration their core input. The various stipulations on workplace safety seem to give an edge to the employees insisting on their particular involvement in the process of designing the safety system and also in its implementation. Employees can petition the regulatory body in case they feel inadequately protected or feel the employer is deliberately exposing them to dangers. It is fundamental then that they be appropriately involved.
Conduct after accidents
The conduct of the employer in cases of accidents is usually under strict scrutiny and hence it is advisable that when accidents occur there be a proper documentation of the procedures and informing of the relevant authorities of the incident. Of paramount importance is the lesson drawn from such accidents as reoccurrence can be costly both in terms of loss of lives or injuries and the resultant penalties. It is the onus of the employer to provide a safe working environment and this should never be compromised at all costs.
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