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Does Your Employer Protect You?

There are a lot of different occupations required to keep a modern, first world economy going. While it’s true that computers and other digital technologies have created new working environments where people spend more time at desks, that’s a job everyone has. America still has a great need for people that know how to construct buildings, install furnaces, fix plumbing, and, of course, work in factories or other fabrication facilities, making and/or repairing components.

That means that for some working Americans, there’s a major physical component to the work that also comes with a higher risk of injury compared to someone inputting data into a spreadsheet in a downtown office. Any work with a more industrial orientation involves a lot of physical labor, as well as exposure to machines and different processes that can, if no care is exercised, result in injury. And for people that work in such important, but risky occupations, some of the responsibility for avoiding injury rests with the employer.

 

Workers Always Have Rights


 

It doesn’t just benefit a worker to be protected in a job with a higher potential physical hazard, it benefits the employer as well. Skilled workers, for example, that can weld, cut, or employ other techniques with a high degree of speed, efficiency and quality are extremely valuable. It takes years for such tradesmen to learn the craft to that degree, and a highly skilled worker means better business for a company.

So if that same worker, producing such valuable results, goes blind, deaf, or suffers a permanent, crippling injury that results in an inability to do work, it’s not just the worker affected by this, the company is too. This is why for work environments with hazardous conditions, it is a legal obligation of the business to ensure that its employees receive an appropriate amount of protection.

 

Two Way Street


 

Of course, when it comes to worker safety, collaboration between the employer and the employee is required. While the business must obey the law in creating an environment that minimizes risk, the employees themselves must also work responsibly. An employee for example, that plays with a welding torch, and, while horsing around, throws a lit welding torch at someone else, resulting in an injury is responsible for that injury, not the company.

However, if a company does not provide adequate environmental safety, such as proper ventilation to ensure employees can breathe safely, to appropriate equipment to protect vision and limbs from light, heat, or heavy impact, then if an injury occurs due to this lack, it is the employer that has failed legal responsibility. It’s one thing, after all, if an employee chooses not to wear a hard hat in a dangerous environment with falling objects. It’s another thing if the business does not even offer that kind of protection to begin with, and puts all employees at risk.

 

Hold Up Those Accountable


 

Accidents are going to happen at some point in any workplace, that’s just the nature of an accident. But if an accident is easily preventable, and in some ways, legally should not have happened if an employer had been exercising the safety obligations required, then that’s a clear sign of negligence that the employer should be held accountable for.

If you sustain an injury at work as a result of employer negligence, you don’t have to shoulder the burden of recovery all by yourself. As an employee working in a hazardous workplace, you have rights, and there are people that can uphold those rights for you and get you the compensation that is legally due in such a situation. Talk to a workers comp lawyer to find out what your next step should be.