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Workplace Safety

Five Steps to Developing an Effective Workplace Safety Program

By Workplace Safety

Five Steps to Developing an Effective Workplace Safety Program

If you are an employer of any size, it is important to prioritize and put workplace safety first to protect both your employees and your financial assets.  You should have a workplace safety plan put into place but if you don’t, here are five steps you should be following to ensure your employees are safe while at work

Step 1: Demonstrate Company’s Commitment to Workplace Safety

Make workplace safety a company-wide value.  Add a sentence in your company’s mission statement so it becomes top of mind.  Management should reflect these values not only in their words but their actions.  They should conduct a thorough investigation and give detailed reporting of every workplace accident while encouraging employees to follow proper safety procedures. 

Step 2: Assess Workplace Risks and Hazards

You will need to get a professional assessment of the everyday hazards specific to your workplace.  Management should release a company wide survey to give employees the opportunity to express their concerns confidentially.  Since the employees work in these conditions every day, it is important to get their opinions and they can often give insight about risks that aren’t obvious to someone who isn’t privy to them on a daily basis.  During both the professional and employee assessments, make sure to create a distinction between workplace hazards (building layout and design), activity hazards (anything related to machinery) and environmental hazards (air quality, chemicals, fumes, etc.)

Step 3: Create a Written Protocol for Employees

Once you have determined all workplace hazards, you can sort to create the blueprint for your safety program.  Employee job descriptions must be clear in writing and must state specifically the issues and requirements regarding safety and health responsibilities.  By having these requirements in writing, it saves room for error when employees are unclear and may need further explanations of their job requirements. 

Step 4: Emphasize Employee Education

After the safety guidelines have been created, you need to relay the information to your employees.  Training should be done when employees are first hired but once new procedures or equipment have been introduced, you should be training your employees on the new protocol.  If you notice new hazards or an employee has transferred, training should be done to refresh the current team.  By constantly reviewing and training your employees, they will be up to date on proper safety guidelines and less mistakes will be made.

Step 5:  Implement and Evaluate 

You should be investigating all workplace accidents no matter how small you may think they are.  Most incidents are usually preventable and once you determine the cause you can figure out a solution so that this does not happen again in the future.  Accidents open the door to making working conditions safer for the employees in the future.  All employee feedback whether anonymous or not should be kept at the forefront.  Workplace duties and employees are always evolving and new safety risks can rise every day.  This is sometimes faster than most employers realize and you don’t want it to be too late where an accident could be fatal. 

Once you put these steps into place, your workplace safety program should be executed immediately to your employers.  Hold dialogue between employees and employers and encourage questions to be asked.  If you have been injured at work due to an unsafe workplace call Losi & Gangi today at 716-854-1446 and speak with one of our attorneys.  

Article adapted from: https://www.ehsinsight.com/blog/5-steps-to-developing-an-effective-workplace-safety-program

How to Prevent Injury When Working in a Factory

By Workplace Safety

As an employee you have the right to a safe working environment, no matter the nature of your job. Most of our clients at Losi & Gangi have been personally injured as a result of construction accidents, slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents or other job-related injuries. Here are some tips on how to prevent injury when working in a factory:

– Keep Workspaces Clean
A cluttered, unclean work area makes it difficult to maneuver around and workers are more prone to hazards when it is messy in the workspace.  Keep shared areas clean and tidy to prevent any accidents.

– Proper Signage
There should be proper signs around work areas in noticeable places and in spaces where specific procedures should be practiced.

– Report Dangers and Accidents
It is important that employees report dangers and accidents that they come in contact with so that others do not come across the same issues.

– Provide Proper Training
Make sure all staff are properly trained for their jobs including how to use equipment and follow safety procedures.

– Provide Proper Equipment
Employees must have on proper safety equipment for the job at all times.

– Avoid Shortcuts
A lot of people take shortcuts when they’re familiar with their job or are in a hurry. Even though some safety precautions may be time consuming, they can be the difference of a life or death situation.

– Get the rest you need
Drowsiness and overworked employees contribute to a lot of the accidents that happen in factories. Be sure to get as much rest as possible to perform the job tasks to your full capability.

We don’t want to see you get hurt, but if it happens on the job, our workers’ compensation attorneys at Losi & Gangi are here to represent you fairly and accurately. Get in touch with us today at 716-854-1446

More information is available at the following website:
https://www.business.com/articles/workplace-accidents-how-to-avoid-them-and-what-to-do-when-they-happen/

Tori explains work incidents that leave workers disabled

What Happens After A Workplace Incident That Leaves You Disabled?

By Workers Compensation, Workplace Safety

You have been injured on the job and you are now being told that you will not be able to return to the work you have been performing.  What happens now?  Where do you turn, should you apply for Social Security Disability benefits?  How will Workers’ Compensation treat your permanent disability? 

Social Security Disability benefits are a federal program that one may turn to if they suffer a severe disability, illness or condition that prevents gainful employment.  According to the US Social Security Administration, state workers’ compensation programs provide approximately $60 billion each year in financial and medical-care benefits to work-related illnesses and injuries.  Social Security is also the nation’s largest disability insurance program, and each state has its own policies, for example, there are 13 states that tax social security — New York State does not carry a tax on social security.

To apply, you should be out of work for at least a minimum of 5 months with the expectation that you will continue to be out of work for 12 months, if not longer.  You can apply for ongoing benefits into the future based on your inability to return to work or also seek a closed period of benefits should you be able to return to work after a 12 month duration. 

To be clear, there is a difference between Workers’ Compensation and Social Security. Social Security is meant for workers who are severely impaired and cannot return to their previous work, and prohibits the worker from adjusting to other means of employment.  Workers’ Compensation is for those who suffered a work-related accident while performing their normal course of job duties. 

There are two major permanent disability classifications in Workers’ Compensation — temporary disability and permanent disability.   When you are classified as having a permanent disability under Workers’ Compensation, further inquiry must be made into the type of permanent injury that you have. 

Usually, if your injury involves an extremity, such as an arm, leg, hand, etc., you will be found to have a Schedule Loss of Use based on the permanent functional limitations opined by the treating physician.  Based on the medical evidence, you will be awarded a Schedule Loss of Use award (“SLU”) which means a lump sum of money based on the degree of permanent disability you are found to have.  Please note that there are exceptions where you may be found to have a permanent disability even if an extremity was involved.   This would entitle you to ongoing permanent disability payments as explained further below.

Permanent disability payments are typically for all other injuries that do not involve your extremities, such as to your back.  When you are found to have a permanent disability with ongoing future loss of wage payments an ongoing award will be made.   There are additional vocational factors that will be taken into account, such as your age, education, past relevant work, residual functional capacity and ability to transfer into a lesser demanding type of work given what you functionally can do. 

From here, temporary and permanent each include total and partial disability that will be determined by your health care provider and explain the amount of benefits you will receive.  It is very important to treat with a physician who understands Workers’ Compensation as the amount of your benefits are highly dependent on your physicians opinion of the degree of disability that you have, whether it be temporary or permanent. 

It is also important to remember that any costs related to the work-related injury that has ultimately caused a level of disability, including surgeries and medications, should be covered by your employer.

If you feel that you aren’t receiving the proper financial support, contact us so we can look into your situation and offer you the assistance you deserve. Take some time and review some of our verdicts & settlements related to social security claims here.

About Losi & Gangi

The law firm of Losi & Gangi is a general partnership of attorneys concentrating the majority of their practice on workers’ compensation matters and personal injury law.

The firm consists of partners David Paul Losi, Jeffery D. Gangi and Harry G. Modeas, with associate attorney Thorice M. Jacobs. In addition to our attorneys, the firm also employs a licensed workers’ compensation representative, Jay P. Boardway