You can only be as safe at work as the workplace around you. If your workplace contains inherent risks and safety issues, these can put you in danger, even when you personally are as cautious as possible.
For instance, all of the ladder safety tips in the world won’t help you if your employer refuses to give you anything but older, defective ladders that need to be replaced. You could also have to operate around hazards like inadequate lighting, cluttered floorspaces, exposed electrical wires, loose banisters and missing railings — just to name a few ordinary workplace hazards.
What should you do if your employer isn’t safety-minded?
When you identify such a hazard, the first thing you should do is inform your employer of the risk. Things wear down and break with time. Defects happen. You can’t expect everything to be flawlessly perfect at all times, and your employer may simply not know that the issue exists.
The problem gets worse when you tell your employer and they fail to act, however. That loose banister doesn’t ever get fixed. New lighting is never installed. Those new ladders are promised, but they never arrive. You may feel like you have very few options, and you can be exposed to unneeded risks every single day that you work in these conditions.
It may be necessary to make a complaint to the authorities. They have the power to enforce workplace guidelines and improve your working conditions.
What if you get injured at work?
When poor working conditions and safety issues lead to an injury, it’s difficult to understand your options. Generally, workers’ compensation will help cover your injury-related costs, like medical bills and lost wages — but employers who don’t concern themselves with their workers’ safety are often the same ones who don’t want to pay workers’ compensation claims. If you’re struggling to get your claim approved, it may be time to talk to an attorney.