Are You Aware of Who Is Responsible for Safety in the Workplace?
Who is responsible for safety in the workplace?
Before anyone starts pointing fingers and getting mad about who should be responsible, I'll tell you.
The employer is responsible for workplace safety. The employer is the person who must protect and ensure the health and safety of his or her employees.
Workplace safety should not be brushed off as unimportant. There are fundamental laws and guidelines in place for business owners to follow in order to create a safe, happy, and functioning workplace.
What happens if the employer fails to do this? If an employer does not follow the safety guidelines set by the U.S. government, it could lead to accidents in the workplace. Work-related injuries not only physically hurt your team, but can also damage employee self-esteem, destroy your brand's reputation, and cost your business a whole lot of money.
Below, we will discuss in-depth what is required of you as an employer and how you can accomplish it. It is vital that you understand the responsibilities of creating a safe work environment with a knowledgeable team.
If you are worried about the health and safety standards, EasyLlama can assist you. EasyLlama's online program can help you and your company by providing health and safety training for compliance with the law. Click here to learn more!
Get An Instant Free Course Preview
Try our best-in-class, interactive, and engaging courses for free!
Who Says That Employers are Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?
In 1970, President Richard Nixon and the U.S. Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Formed from the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), this public health agency was meant to oversee labor practices among employers and ensure that a company was following the regulations set forth by the OSH Act. Under the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA serves to promote health and safety in the workplace so that a person does not feel like they will risk their life doing their job.
OSHA aims to reduce work-related injuries and minimize risks so that employees can work safely. OSHA creates safety policies and safety procedures that employers must implement in their workplace to create a safe environment free of injury. These policies are different based on the industry of the company, however, the common theme is to reduce risk, eliminate hazards, and ensure the health and safety of employees. There are Federal OSHA requirements as well as State-level procedures. For example, in California, the Cal-OSHA Enforcement is much stricter in terms of guidelines than the Federal policies. In this case, the State supercedes the Federal.
If you need help getting your organization COVID-19 compliant, check out our coronavirus training for employees. We break down all the rules and regulations your business needs to follow in order to follow the laws during this pandemic.
Along with providing the safety policies and the appropriate safety procedures for the business owners, the government organization also monitors the employers by making sure that the workplace is in compliance with the guidelines. OSHA makes sure that employers follow safety rules and regulations by having compliance officers inspect the workplace for hazards. If the inspector finds a violation in which you fail to implement safety in the workplace, OSHA can issue you a compliance fine.
What Safety and Health Procedures Are an Employer Responsible for?
Employers are responsible for health and safety development in their workplace. The organization must aim to be free of risk and injuries by providing health and safety training to all employees. Management must provide training to all managers, supervisors, and employees to create a well-informed team. This course must be in a language that the employee can understand. Along with the training, here are some other key health and safety responsibilities that employers may have:
- Supply workers with proper safety equipment such as personal protective equipment (a worker shall not be charged to pay for safety equipment)
- Use appropriate signage in the workplace to alert workers of potential safety hazards
- Present written resources for their team to understand the health and safety policies
- Notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace fatality, or within 24 hours of work-related in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye
- Provide legal resources to allow employees to report any health and safety issues in the workplace
- Not retaliating against a worker who reports the business to OSHA for workplace safety hazards
It is the employer's responsibility to make sure that an employee does not feel like they are risking his or her life to do a work-related task. If an employee feels unsafe or uncomfortable with performing their job at work, then you as an employer have failed your duties to the worker.
If you need help with regulations arising from the pandemic, try our safety COVID-19 training for employees. We break down what is outlined by the CDC into bite-sized videos to get you compliant with your State's laws.
What Role Does a Supervisor Have in Promoting Safety?
The duties of a manager or supervisor are to identify any risk and to communicate the workplace safety issues with the team in order to protect the employees who may be affected by such safety hazards. If health and safety programs are in place, then supervisors must take responsibility for making sure that all employees are following the safety guidelines of the business.
A big responsibility that supervisors have is responding to and correcting any recognized workplace safety hazards. It is important to not only implement the safety guidelines but to also quickly amend any violations that pose a risk to any worker in the company. Management should report any risks or workplace safety violations to supervisors immediately.
What Happens if an Employer is Noncompliant?
If an employer does not follow the safety regulations set by the government, this can create heaps of trouble for the business owner.
The first problem that can come up is that an accident can happen in the workplace. If an accident were to occur in the workplace, it will look bad on the employer if you did not take the proper precautions to prevent these incidents. Since incidents need to be reported to OSHA, the company can be investigated for what measures were taken to stop something like that from happening.
Another problem would be citations and fines. If an OSHA-designated inspector finds safety violations in the workplace, OSHA can issue citations and fines to the employer. A citation would include methods for how the employer can correct the violation, and it also includes a deadline for when you must comply. If the employer is a repeat offender, then you can be a target for the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The SVEP directive would establish the violator as a repeat offender that must follow new procedures and enforcement actions such as routine follow-up inspections of the workplace.
What Other Safety Responsibilities Does an Employer Have?
Along with following the occupational health and safety standards, employers should aim to promote a safe work culture. This includes their responsibilities to respond and to prevent sexual harassment in the organization. The safety of the workers is important, and management must protect their workers from harassment incidents.
Sexual harassment is common in a business setting and threatens the safety of employees. The legal definition of sexual harassment is unwanted sexual advances or verbal, physical, and visual harassment of a sexual nature. Since management has responsibilities to protect his or her workers, it is crucial to prevent any form of harassment or discrimination in the business.
If any cases of harassment arise, an employer's responsibilities and duties to his or her employees are to report the incident and provide legal resources for the victim. Due to the recent McDonald's sexual harassment claims that plagued the franchise, this company now even intelligently requires proper training for all of its stores.
Certain states in the United States have sexual harassment training requirements for businesses. Check to see if EasyLlama can help you satisfy your state sexual harassment training requirements!
Looking for Convenient Health and Safety Training?
Employers have a lot of safety responsibilities regarding the protection of their workers in their business. In order to comply with the law, employers must provide proper training to their employees.
EasyLlama is an online training platform that can help you be compliant with the health and safety requirements set by OSHA. EasyLlama delivers an interactive online program that can help your business by training your workers to be up to date with the latest health and safety information.
Click here to get started in creating a secure and safe work culture in your organization!