According to the available statistics, more than sixty percent of the accidents in the workplace are preventable. Prevention can be achieved through a proper educative system targeting the employer, the employees and the general public. Negligence forms the major component of the causes of these accidents while the rest are due to lack of proper mechanisms and warning signs. The occupational safety and Health Administration was formed with the key intent of minimizing workplace related injuries hence protecting the employer and the employees in general. It protects the employees through minimized exposure to health hazards and the employer from the many liabilities emanating from workplace injuries and the compensations arising.
According to the regulations of OSHA it is mandatory that every organization comes up with a sound policy on staff safety by ensuring the various potential exposures to risks are addressed and mitigated. Apart from enforcing a program of continuous education on work related safety, the employer is also mandated to carry out occasional drills to assess emergency preparedness of the various departments within the organization. One key area that has been widely addressed is the exit route within an organization in case of an emergency. Adequate attention has been given to this section after discovery that majority of injuries and fatalities are as a result of lack of adequate exit routes. According to the stipulations, the exit routes should be easily accessible and should be positioned at easily accessible and central points. The exit routes should be unhindered by any explosives or any other material that is flammable. The lighting should also be adequate for any person with a normal vision. It should also be clearly marked and the direction clearly indicated.
OSHA offers a detailed guideline on workplace preparedness and emergency response emphasizing on the mandatory nature of First Aid within the organization. According to the specifications the organizations outlined include those dealing with constructions, power plants, and those dealing with distribution of power. The employer is required to ensure there is a medical personnel present to address health and medical concerns and providing continuous training on First Aid. It further states that in the absence of a clinic or a hospital within the organization there should be a few certified persons with First Aid skills.
Empowering employees on their safety rights
OSHA gives workers immense rights when it comes to managing their own safety within an organization. It gives them the authority to participate in the formulation of safety standards and during the setting up regulations relating to their own health and safety. Particularly, workers have a right to access information on the various safety measures put in place and the steps to follow in case of accidents or emergencies.
Additionally, employees are mandated to petition their employers to address their concerns regarding safety and to improve the existing conditions. In the same breath, they are protected should they boycott work citing unsafe environment. They have a right to petition the intervention of OSHA where they feel threatened even if the safety measures they want implemented falls out of OSHA’s standards.